Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Penang Trip

I just got back from Penang and I am damn sleepy. I had gone there to attend a Symposium, which was held at the Grand Plaza Parkroyal Hotel. I am not going to discuss about the symposium, which was quite interesting by the way (but boring to others I guess). However, this post is not about the symposium but about the hotel I stayed in. Well I drove down with a friend who had gone there ages ago and here we were driving around the state, which is also known to have the worst drivers in the whole of Malaysia. We only had the address of the hotel and a vague idea about where to go (direction given by Penang born friends). Would you believe it - this was my first trip to the Pearl of the orient. As you would expect, we got lost. We finally reached Batu Ferringhi Beach and the hotel, after a few directions from my good friend Rajoo.

So far, the Sutera Harbour Resort Hotel has been top on my best hotels list. However, after this trip, the Grand Plaza Parkroyal Hotel ranks side-by-side with it. Well I got a double bed room shared with my friend. The rooms facing the sea, cost almost double the rooms facing the hills and even though I had booked the cheaper rooms, we decided to upgrade to the sea facing rooms. After all, as participants of the seminar, we were eligible for discounted rates and the rates were with our budget (paid by our organization). All together it came to RM259.98/ each for the 2 nights and 3 days stay there.

After we had registered for the conference, checked in and kept our stuff in the room, we had to rush down and get something to eat before they stopped serving breakfast. The food was great and we stuffed ourselves.

What I liked about this hotel were the complimentary personal grooming items. So far, it was the first hotel to provide a shaving kit. Great for people (like me) who always forget to bring their own. The only complaint I have is that their toothpaste was lousy. I guess no one asks for it and it had semi-solidified in the tube. They also provided an ironing board with iron in the room. Normally in other hotels, we have to ask for the iron. They also provided 2 huge complimentary and really tasty home made cookies. Yummy! The replaced these cookies every day. Learnt from a friend that this hotel also has a place where you can drop your kids while you are busy with your symposium or want to go somewhere else without the brats.

Besides the saving kit and toothpaste, I also forgot to pack swimming trunks, and slippers. Don’t buy these items from the hotel. We went around town and obtained these items at prices half the prices quoted in the hotel and stalls around the road. We drove down to the town to get the stuff and visited quite a few places in George Town and again got lost. We went round and round.

Just outside the hotel, there are a number of stalls where you can browse around for a gift. A number of stalls selling DVDs and CDs. There were a number of restaurants along the road but we avoided those as we had received prior warnings about the overpriced food in those places. Instead we had a meal at the open air stalls a short walk away from the hotel. At the table next to ours, Loganathan Arumugam of the Alleycats, was having dinner with some people (his family I guess). I had chappati but my friend’s mee goring never arrived and he was damned piss off. I asked him to go and enquire but he didn’t and just waited and waited and it never came. I was a bit annoyed with him. Come on, just order something else or just remind them or shout at them or something but I guess he is that type of guy….

His mood later improved and we went back to the hotel after buying some snacks. We sat down at the hotel lounge where a live band was playing slow music. Finally went to sleep after watching a movie on NTV7. Something about Mars and Aliens.

Had a great time in Penang even though I didn’t get to see any of the famous sights. Maybe next time and when I do, I would definitely stay in the Grand Plaza Parkroyal Hotel.

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