Review: Kudat Golf & Marina Resort

KUDAT GOLF & MARINA RESORT

I haven’t talked much about my trip to Kudat with mom (except about food) so I’ll start with the hotel we stayed at during our 1 night in Kudat.

While we were planning the trip, mom said we could stay at Kudat Golf & Marina Resort since we’ve not stayed there the last time we were in Kudat. (Summary of the trip 10+ years ago: The whole family was in the north of Sabah to catch the eclipse. We stayed at a hall of a Taoist Temple because all hotels were full.)

I made the booking online and picked the Standard Garden Terrace (Twin-Sharing) room which was RM180.00 nett

While driving, the hotel is not the easiest to find as the sign only pops up once in a while. Our car drove past the golf area on the windy road before we reached the main building.

Kudat Golf & Marina Resort facade
Kudat Golf & Marina Resort facade

I didn’t have much expectations for the hotel, even though it has “Resort” in its name.

Sure enough, it was a small resort with only 3 stories (4 floors of room if you count the ground floor).

Other half wing of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Other half wing of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort

Standard Garden Terrace (Twin-Sharing)

Twin room of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Twin room of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort

Our room was located on the ground floor. The glass doors opened to a small pavement and a shrub which covered some of the view of the golf fields.

It wasn’t the most fantastic view but we were either sleeping or watching TV anyway.

Bathroom of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Bathroom of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Shower Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Shower Kudat Golf & Marina Resort

Of course, there was no bathtub. (I adore bathtubs even if it uses too much water.)

Unfortunately, there wasn’t Wi-Fi in the room. I had to bring my laptop out to the lobby so I could surf the Net. (Why are you online when you are on vacation?!)

View from the lobby

View from lobby, overlooking swimming pool at Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
View from lobby, overlooking swimming pool at Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
View from lobby at Kudat Golf & Marina Resort (again)
View from lobby at Kudat Golf & Marina Resort (again)
Lobby and veranda of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort
Lobby and veranda of Kudat Golf & Marina Resort

Luckily, the view from the lobby was quite gorgeous.

I even woke up at 5.30 am, hoping I could catch the sunrise.

Unfortunately, a bunch of trees faraway blocked my view of the sun. It was too cloudy for sunrise anyway.

So-so breakfast

As you probably know by now, I adore food.

You probably cannot tell from my stomach that I like to eat because many kind Samaritans have offered me their seats on the train, thinking my food baby is a real foetus.

I digress.

D'Conutt
D’Conutt

Our room came with free breakfast at the D’Conutt Coffee House at the other end of our corridor.

I have not figured why many Malaysian establishments LOVE to add a “de” or “d'” to their restaurants. Is it to give it a French flair? Why would they need a French sounding–but obviously not French because “d'” comes before a vowel–name?

Anyway, the breakfast was so-so local food although I quite enjoyed the drinks–orange syrup with water and coffee.

Not so yummy breakfast
Not so yummy breakfast

In a nut shell

Kudat Golf & Marina Resort is a nice pretty place with what you need for more than minimum comfort. You will need a vehicle to get in and out as the public transport to town is not developed.

There are other hotels right inside Kudat town if you wish something more central. (Shops all close really early so it’s not really that convenient anyway.)

Find out more on Kudat Golf & Marina Resort website.

Review: Pontian Garden Hotel

pontian garden hotel

It’s Tuesday and almost mid-week. This week, I will be sharing a post each on Tuesday and Wednesday because they are hotel reviews. I feel it’s kind of cheating when I post hotel reviews so I line two at a go. Enjoy!

Today’s post is about a charming hotel in Pontian, Johor.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might not know that my sister and I had to cancel our plans to Gunung Ledang two weekends before. We missed the train to Sematan Segamat and took a bus to the long distance bus terminal but managed to missed the bus by 2 minutes! (TWO MINUTES!)

It felt like something in the universe was telling us not to go to Gunung Ledang so I cancelled our room reservation with the resort. (Yes, I’m superstitious) We sat in the busy bus terminal with our backpacks and googled the places nearby.

In the end, we decided to go to Pontian because it’s relatively near Johor Bahru. Also because I’ve actually heard of the place. (It’s food famous!)

Since we did not do any research about Pontian, we had to frantically read up links from Google.

While searching for a place to stay, I discovered Pontian Garden Hotel on Google Maps. I fell in love immediately because it looked like it overlooks the sea.

Pontian Garden Hotel on Google Maps
Pontian Garden Hotel on Google Maps

Pontian Garden Hotel’s strategic location

When we reached the bus terminal, I was delighted to find out from my Google Map app that the hotel is walking distance.

There’s even a Marrybrown under the hotel. I love fried chicken. Too bad we didn’t have any fried chicken during the trip. (Such a tragedy.)

Pointian Garden Hotel
Pointian Garden Hotel

When we checked in, the concierge told us that they only had standard rooms which were RM 118 per night. Good enough!

There was also FREE WI-FI! Password: jiayuanpg1001

Our room was on the second floor and there was no elevator. Thank goodness we have very light backpack.

Pontian Garden Hotel Standard Room
Pontian Garden Hotel Standard Room

The room was very comfortable as the air-conditioning worked very well.

Coffee & Tea set at Pontian Garden Hotel
Coffee & Tea set at Pontian Garden Hotel

I also like the coffee and tea set. Free coffee and tea!

Pontian Garden Hotel shower
Pontian Garden Hotel shower

The only problem with the room is the shower: The water sprayed almost everywhere. Eeek.

Best about Pontian Garden Hotel

Good points about the hotel include the helpful concierge. They helped us call up a taxi to bring us to Tanjung Piai to see the southern tip of the continent of Asia.

But, the best thing about the hotel is not the room, the people or the breakfast (I love food!).

It was the view of the breakfast place. Look!

View of the sea from terrace of Pontian Garden Hotel
View of the sea from terrace of Pontian Garden Hotel

Imagine having breakfast while looking at the deep blue sea. (OK, it was gray the day I was there.) The sea breeze is great in helping with invigorating the appetite!

In a nut shell

Pontian Garden Hotel is a fantastic place to stay if you are in Pontian. The price, view, room, people are all fantastic.

Find out more on Pontian Garden Hotel website.

Other Malaysian hotel reviews on YQ Travelling:

Stayed Hotel Maruchu, Tokyo review

Room of Hotel Maruchu Tokyo

The worse part of travel preparations is booking a hotel. Even with reviews, I’m never sure how a room would turn out.

Luckily, Hotel Maruchu in Tokyo turned out to be alright.

When I extended my business trip in September, I had to look for a place to stay. I found Hotel Maruchu online and thought that its location right next to Minami-Senjuu is great.

As a miser budget traveller, the 3,500 yen (US$44.5) price was what clinched the deal. In comparison, the price of a dorm bed at Sakura Hostel is 2,940 yen (US$$37.3).

The hotel was not too difficult to find. It’s just across the tracks of Tokyo Metro’s Minami-Senjuu station, and a bit more walking if you come from the JR station. There’s an overhead bridge with slopes to roll your suitcase around.

When I reached, the concierge was really enthusiastic and spoke a bit of English. I should have been ashamed of myself for not speaking more in Japanese. (Sorry mom!)

I chose the Japanese-style single room (which is also a two-person room according to the sign outside). The room is really tiny but I guess that’s what you get in space-constraint Japan.

Hotel Maruchu's 3 tatami big room
Hotel Maruchu’s 3 tatami big room

Amenities

There’s a Chinese saying, “A sparrow might be small, but it has all five internal organs.” The saying is a lot more poetic in Chinese, I assure you.

Well, Maruchu’s room is definitely has a sparrow’s innards. My room had a futon mattress, pillow, blanket fridge, TV, bathrobe, towel, a box of tissue, a table and a cushions. It also has free Wi-Fi, take that Marriott!

Hotel Maruchu's bathrobe and towel
Hotel Maruchu’s bathrobe and towel
Room of Hotel Maruchu
Room of Hotel Maruchu

Bonus! A clip of me rambling on about the room.


(I never managed to visit the cemetery because I got lost.)

Shared facilities

Outside the room, there’s the shared toilet and pantry.

The toilet has men’s urinals (though it will be really awkward walking in on a man peeing) and the cool modern Japanese toilets.

Hotel Maruchu's shared washroom
Hotel Maruchu’s shared washroom
Hotel Maruchu's modern Japanese toilet
Hotel Maruchu’s modern Japanese toilet
Hotel Maruchu's shared pantry and "makeup area"
Hotel Maruchu’s shared pantry and “makeup area”

Not included in the my photos is the public bath. For me, this was actually the main attraction.

Hotel Maruchu bath
From http://www.hotelmaruchu.com/pc-j/building.html

In a public bath, you take a shower and bath with other people. Some people might feel uncomfortable about this but I actually like the Japanese’s nonchalance of other people’s naked bodies. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans.

Do note that the bath is open to women at a shorter timing than men.

Misc

There’s a nice Japanese restaurant outside of the JR station which is within walking distance of the hotel. A 7-11 is a short walk away too. The streets were quite deserted at night when I walked to the convenience store, although I don’t think it’s dangerous for a woman to walk alone.

Minami-Senjuu is near Ueno Park but it’s actually a lot further to the city center. I didn’t like the travelling.

In a nutshell
Stayed at Hotel Maruchu, Tokyo
Pros: Enthusiastic concierge, cheap cheap price, cool Japanese room
Cons: Train station is far from the city center, people who are shy about being naked with strangers might not like the public bath, small Japanese room

Stayed San Jose Marriott Hotel, review

As you might know from my blog, I’m a budget traveler. Or maybe I should say, a miserly traveler.

So why am I reviewing the San Jose Marriott? Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those phantom posts about places the writer has never been to.

I had the chance to stay at this hotel chain during my business trip in May to San Jose. I clocked five luxurious nights among the soft bed and fluffy pillows, then I went back to earth in San Francisco.

Anyway, let’s head to the review:

Two beds for one person and her luggage

I’m not sure why they always give two beds on business trips for a single traveler. Even if I do invite someone to stay over, the other bed wouldn’t be too useful, would it? ;)

The bed was very comfortable and I spent a ridiculous amount of non-work hours propped up my pillows watching TV (The kids show in the morning were really fun but the shows at night were scandalous!).

Bathroom with a tub!

I do not have a bathtub at home so whenever I see a bathtub, my heart swells with joy. But when taking a bath, I would feel guilty about wasting so much water. Dilemma!

Bath and Beyond’s great smelling set

The thing I liked best about the room was the bath set. The orange-ginger combination smells really heavenly. I kind of regret not buying a whole bottle from Bath and Beyong.

Every morning, I would hide the tiny bottles in my suitcase and hope the room service tips I left were enough to pacify the chambermaids.

My non-view

I had a relatively low floor so my view wasn’t great. I’m not the type to open my curtains anyway so it suited me well.

My room also had a coffee machine that only accepts its own coffee bags. The coffee was really good stuff though, not like the limp coffee found in Southeast Asia. (Heck, even the conference coffee was awesome!)

Now that I’ve finished all my praises, the bad news comes.

I had to pay a lot of money for Internet (well, the host paid for the Internet but the fact that the guest needs to pay for Web access makes me really angry).

Not only was the Wi-Fi expensive, it drops off very often. I would need to relogin Marriott’s page again and again because it cuts me off too often.

A good thing that came out of this was that I had a story idea to work on when I was back at work.

Summary

Stayed: San Jose Marriott
Pro: All the stuff a four-star hotel has, lovely bath toiletries collection
Cons: Not for the budget traveler, the Internet fee is too damn high!

Other accommodation reviews (for the budget travelers)