Cove 55 is a new concept for Borneo. The hotel is a hybrid of service and private hire.
The 12 rooms (eight classic, and two larger suites) and two chalets can be hired exclusively, either in its entirety or individually. The main reception office hours are between 9am and 5pm, intentionally leaving you to yourself. After 5pm, the night manager and other staff are still on hand but seem to melt away, leaving you to complete privacy.
Your seclusion comes in the form of luxury accommodation and lush tropical surroundings. The property is Santubong Peninsular, Sarawak, with views across the South China Sea and Mount Santubong, the highest peak in the state.
There is a beach but it’s not recommended for swimming due to the nearby mangrove forests and muddy, sandy seabed. The hotel is upfront about this and I didn’t find this a problem. The 23 metre lap pool is an enchanting turquoise, beckoning you to take a dip.
The dazzling white exterior continues inside. The rooms have been designed to blend indigenous Iban culture with a chic artful look and every piece of furniture has been handpicked by the Iban owners. There are poems dedicated to the Iban goddess on the doors and walls.
Many guests choose to self-cater, making use of the full kitchen, large dining room and living area. Others prefer to engage the services of the on call chef. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of western and Malay cuisines at breakfast.
Spa services are also on call; you don’t even have to leave the privacy of your home away from home.
If you do want to explore the area, there are tandem and mountain bikes for hire. Damai beach, Santubong National Park and the Sarawak Culture Village are a short distance away. The famed Iban hospitality shines through in the staff. They are happy to give advice for activities across Sarawak and can organise trips for you.
The secluded Cove 55 is perfect, and is in demand, for weddings, private functions, retreats, or a getaway with close friends.
Cove 55 has been nominated as a finalist for the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
Lovers’ trysts, clandestine discussions about independence, high powered business deals; you can imagine it all going on in the grand old Majestic Hotel. Built in 1932, the Majestic was simply the place to be seen in Kuala Lumpur in the following decades. Everybody from visiting dignitaries to KL high society and the glamorous celebrities of the day slept under its roof.
Now, after years of meticulous restoration,the Majestic has re-opened, restored to its full grandeur and with service standards to match. We stayed in the all-suite, colonial-era Majestic wing of the hotel (there is also a modern Tower wing). After in-suite check-in with our personal butler, we relaxed in the comfortable, stylish one bedroom suite, the highlight of which was a beautiful bathroom with stand alone bath tub.
On our way to the spa all the staff greeted us by name, something we marvelled at as we had just arrived. As a fan of architect/designer Charles Rennie MacIntosh, I was thrilled to walk into the hotel’s beautiful spa and find that it is inspired by his famous Willow Tea Rooms in my home city of Glasgow. The art noveau décor is striking and perfectly complements the art deco design of the main hotel building, and the spa’s unique treatments are inspired by Malaysia’s colonial past.
The hotel is a heritage listed building located opposite the old Moorish railway station so not in the most convenient area but guests have a car and driver to use at will to get them around town. Guests of the Tower wing can use the hotel’s regular shuttle bus.
I was particularly impressed with the service when I had a colleague over for an early morning business meeting before the Majestic wing’s restaurant had opened. Staff prepared complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits for us to have in the Reading Room and hovered at a discreet distance in case we needed anything extra.
In the evening we took our drinks to the 12 seat private cinema and settled down to watch an old black and white Sherlock Holmes movie. We deemed kissing in the front row would be acceptable when you have a private cinema all to yourself!
The Ritz Carlton is one of those hotels that gets almost everything just right. From the fantastic location just steps from the shopping and eating delights of Bukit Bintang to the attentiveness of the staff, it makes life easy for guests. A hotel which does that is just the place I want to lay my head at night.
Our premier suite was spacious and very comfortable with views over the swimming pool. Not only was the bedroom roomy and well appointed with a big walk in wardrobe and dressing area but the separate sitting room was large with plenty of room to spread out and relax. The butler managed to be attentive without being intrusive which is not an easy balancing act. All the other staff we encountered were equally friendly and welcoming.
We dined one evening at the hotel’s Cantonese fine dining restaurant, Li Yen, and I can say without shadow of a doubt that the six course meal there was the best Chinese meal I have ever eaten. Likewise the food at breakfast was imaginative (porridge bento box anybody?) and high quality with a cold buffet and hot items cooked to order off the menu.
After being steamed, stroked and scrubbed in a three hour couples’ spa treatment we were left alone to enjoy a private, outdoor rose milk bath. The bath was really more like a rose petal-strewn small plunge pool and we sank into it, sipping the spa’s strong, delicious ginger tea. Sheer bliss.
The hotel has an excellent gym which is a stroke of luck because they also have a very talented pastry chef whose irresistible cakes made afternoon tea and welcome cakes in the suite a real treat.
President Obama and 700 of his closest friends stayed at the Ritz Carlton a few days before our visit. All I can say is that the President has excellent taste.
Among the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur is a fun, modern hotel. In a sea of grey and black, it has a bright purple exterior with lots of windows, so from the start you know Le Apple Boutique Hotel is a little bit different.
We arrived at night to a nice, mood-lit room. The colors in the room were dark — grey, black and purple — perfect for a great night’s sleep in a big city. Our room was small but quite efficient and cool in the Malaysian humidity. We had a comfortable bed for two with nightstands, closet, desk and a colourful glassed-in bathroom. I also enjoyed the modern, floral art above the bed. It wasn’t your average framed art; it was something unique.
Our bathroom had a typical Asian layout with shower, toilet and sink in one room but Le Apple offered a twist as it’s all one large glass cube, in a bold blue! It was compact but not cramped. The frosted glass exterior walls made it feel really open and there was plenty of room to move around and shower. If you don’t like showers consider the jacuzzi rooms, I heard they are really nice too.
From Le Apple, it was just a short walk to the Petronas towers and not too far from the KL tower. There’s so much to see and do in the downtown area near the hotel. It’s the perfect spot for a smaller hotel experience. If you like boutique hotels and you find yourself going to KL, don’t hesitate to book a room here.