Thursday, December 29, 2011

Short break in Kuala Lumpur

This December, we had another short break away to Kuala Lumpur(KL) since work ended later this year. Instead of taking the Aeroline Bus to KL which we did previously, we found another luxury coach company - Luxury Tours. While it is just slightly cheaper at $48 single trip as compared to $50 for Aeroline's single trip, we chose Luxury Tours because it drops us at Dorsett Regency which is exactly where we want to be, right in the heart of Bukit Bintang shopping area and near to our hotel - The Westin. This compares favorably with Aeroline's drop off point at Corus Hotel which is nearer to KLCC area and which entails quite a bit of travelling via MRT and LRT to Bukit Bintang. Based on our experience in June, we felt that we enjoyed the shopping and eating at Bukit Bintang more so than at KLCC. Luxury Tours has a number of bus types so when choosing your trip ( done online or at their booking office at Concord Hotel in Orchard), do note which bus you want as different timings may have different bus types. We chose the Exclusive A Bus which is 30 seater luxury coach that provide a coach guide, luxury recliner seats, on demand video and breakfast at the Concord Hotel food court and onboard light food. We found that the service in terms of the driver and the guide much better than Aeroline as they spoke better, provided alot of information and ever ready to answer queries on board and were efficient and professional especially at the immigration checkpoint and restpoints. The bus interior was also better maintained than Aeroline's.

(Above) Interior of the coach

(Above)Double seater lounge recliner seats with good foot space.

(Above)Foot rest

(Above) Adequate foot space

(Above) Watching Iron Man 2 on the personal video screen

We left Concord Hotel at 8.30am sharp and reached our stop at Dorsett Regency in KL at 1.30pm with two rest stops along the way. The coach also makes two other stops at Sheraton Imperial KL and Istana KL hotels catering to which stop is more convenient for you to drop off at. Dorsett Regency Hotel is located just beside Ritz Carlton KL and behind the Westin hotel.

(Above)The Westin Hotel in the day and at night.

We took a short walk to the main entrance of The Westin,located just opposite Pavillion shopping mall. We checked into our suite(upgraded compliments of the hotel) on the 9th floor at Westin Exclusive residences which is the serviced suite wing of the Westin hotel. The check in service was friendly and efficient and we were impressed with the privacy of our floor with our lift serving only 1 apartment per floor. Stepping in, we were very impressed with the size of the serviced suite which is just like a regular 1 bedroom private apartment.

(Above)Our own Private Lift lobby

(Above) Gayle posing outside our suite.

(Above)Doorway to Living Room

(Above)Living Room

(Above)Bouquet of flowers for Gayle compliments of The Westin

(Above)Nice! Strawberries dipped in chocolate, compliments from The Westin

(Above)Cozy yet spacious Bedroom

(Above) Kitchen area

(Above)Dresser area

(Above)Doorway to bath and washroom area.

(Above)Bath shower area

(Above)Bathtub area

(Above) City view from hotel room

(Above)Airconditioned balcony with a view of the city

(Above)Gayle happy at having a nice kitchen

(Above) Eugin cutting oranges. Having a kitchen is convenient as it means we can buys our own food like fruits and supper to store and eat.

(Above) Eugin coming out from the main entrance to the serviced suite wing of Westin

We spend the next few days of our KL trip shopping ( have to look out for good buys and do calculations, pre-check on prices of items in Singapore before you leave to assess if you are getting a good deal) as December is KL's great shopping spree season with discounts of 50 to 70% off. We find that for branded stuff, you will need to be aware of the pricing in Singapore to do a good comparison and factor in conversion rate if you are using credit cards. Most branded goods are cheaper in general in Singapore than in KL but you do get good buys at times.

(Above)Christmas spirit at Pavilion

(Above)Gayle coming out after her buy at Armani Exchange

(Above)Armani Exchange top after discount at SGD$28 from AX Pavillion

(Above)Mango Sale!

The Westin provides a free shuttle service from Westin to KLCC and back which is very convenient. Cinema tickets are still cheap as ever, both of us catching Mission Impossible 4 at only SGD$2.50 per ticket at Pavillion.

(Above)Cheap cinema tickets - Going to watch Mission Impossible

We also had nice meals at Pavillion, KLCC and of course,Jalan Alor where we had our fill of zi-char and satay.

(Above)At our usual spot at Jalan Alor - Chu Char makan place

(Above) Mussels in black bean sauce

(Above)Black pepper Deer meat

(Above)Pipping hot Bak Kut Teh, this version comes with pork ribs and intestines. Very nice. $10 ringgit for two person to share.

(Above)Vegetables with garlic and oyster sauce

(Above)Fresh Fruit juice to wash away the oily food

(Above)Food republic food court for affordable food at Pavilion

(Above) Vietnamese lunch set

(Above)Dash of sauce to our teppanyaki lamb meal as it is being prepared

(Above)Hot dogs at Carls' Junior are cheap and good at $15 ringgit for two person with 1 drink, 2 dogs and fries. Their fries are the best we have tried and has potato skin and not too salty.

(Above) Lunch at Brozeit. Surprisingly, they serve good and cheap lunches. A lunch set costs SGD$7.50 inclusive of taxes which is cheap for a meal at Brozeit.

(Above) Closer look at Brozeit lunch menu

(Above) Yoghurt at Crumbs at Pavilion basement is similar to Yoguru's but cheaper, $11 ringgit for large.

(Above) Cakes from cake chain - Bread History. Cheap at SGD$2.50 a piece but quality is not there though in terms of the sponge cake texture.

We also had a spa pedicure at Bling Bling located at Pavillion just to try out but this was not to our expectations in terms of the service and quality of treatement rendered and still cannot beat our usual pedicure haunt in Singapore.For example, nail colouring was not done properly and handling was abit roough. We also noticed they reused sponge and tools unlike in Singapore where it is used once. Shop interior where the pedicure was done was rather untidy with boxes and bottles strewn along the floor. The shop was crowded with Malaysians but may not meet service expectations of Singaporeans from what we experienced.

(Above)Did our pedicure at Bling Bling @ Pavillion.

(Above)Gayle choosing her nail colours

(Above)Foot Scrub

(Above)Eugin finding the scrubbing of the sole ticklish

(Above)Foot wrap

(Above)Buffing of Eugin's nails

(Above)Clean glossy nails

(Above)Us in the Westin shuttle van to KLCC

(Above)Usual traffic jam at Bukit Bintang. Avoid taxis as you may get caught up in jams and in Nov, Dec, flash floods.

(Above) Traffic jam at 10pm at night on a week day.

On our last day, we took the 4.30pm coach. It's arrival was delayed to 5pm due to massive jam at KL. Our journey back to Singapore was smooth otherwise and there were only 6 of us on board, 1 driver, 1 guide and 2 couples so we had the whole coach to ourselves. Although the trip was no meals specified one, Luxury Tours gave complimentary packet drinks and muffins, a nice gesture.

(Above)Coach to ourselves