O’Boutique Suites Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

We chose this hotel because we had an engagement nearby. However, unless you need to be in this locality, O’Boutique Suites is not located near shops or transport facilities. We ended up having to take taxis everywhere since there is no public transport nearby. There are also no shops apart from furniture stores within walking distance.

IMG_1091Our room was comfortable, felt new and was very clean. It had twin beds pushed together, a flatscreen TV with Malaysian channels only, hanging space for clothes, a table and chair, coffee and tea making facilities, a phone, air-conditioning, and a large corner window between the bathroom and the bedroom. I have never been sure if these hotel rooms are designed so you can watch each other taking a shower, or so you can watch TV while you are on the toilet, but whatever the real reason, it can certainly make your stay more interesting! There was a curtain on the bathroom side, so privacy was possible. The bathroom was very nice, with a double-headed shower, but unfortunately the water pressure was so weak that a really satisfying shower was impossible.

IMG_1093

Breakfast, served from 8am to 10am, was included but this turned out to be my only complaint about the hotel. Every day a buffet of nasi lemak and breakfast cereals was available, but these foods frequently ran out, as did the tea, coffee and juice, and spoons, forks, bowls, and so on, and were not replaced unless a guest found a member of staff and asked for more. The lack of attention to what was required was disappointing. We thought the food would vary from nasi lemak, but our second and third days were no different. We gradually realised, however, that it was possible to request other foods, such as soft-boiled eggs and toast, though there was no menu; we just saw what other guests were eating as asked for it. It was a poor system.

 

Apart from at breakfast, service was very polite and efficient and the reception staff were very helpful in booking us taxis throughout our stay. Our check-in process was easy, even though we checked in after 10pm.

Organic Recipe restaurant

O’Boutique Suites is located in a building called Casa Utama, on a residential street, and on the levels above the hotel there are residential apartments. On the floor below the hotel there is a great organic restaurant, called Organic Recipe, which serves Chinese food, Malay food and pizza, where we ate twice. They also sell health foods and other products. Our meals at the restaurant were delicious, and prices were very reasonable. Even if you are not staying at the hotel, the restaurant is well worth a visit.

The hotel is a 20-minute drive from Batu Caves, which cost us MYR21 by taxi. It cost MYR74 (fixed price) by budget taxi from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Hotel Sapolohe, Bira, Sulawesi: A Large Stilt House with Sea Views

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

Having quickly moved hotels after a ghastly experience at Bira Beach Hotel, we found Hotel Sapolohe just up a side road, away from the Bira’s main drag, but right near the beach.

Hotel SapoloheStay in a Stilt House!

The hotel itself was a massive house on stilts, which instantly appealed to me because of architecture alone. We paid Rp. 350,000 for a deluxe room with sea view, a TV, air-conditioning and hot water, but not including breakfast. We bargained to get this price, which we considered on the expensive side, down from Rp. 420,000.

The room was tastefully decorated and we stepped out on to a communal veranda looking out to the beach. There were no other guests during our two-night stay, so we had the veranda to ourselves. Set up on a cliff and upstairs in the stilt house, our position was high above the beach and we enjoyed looking out to sea. The hotel has direct access to the beach through a gate at the bottom of the garden.

BedroomThe Other Details

The bathroom had a bathtub with a shower over it, but there was no plug for the bath or the sink, although we tried to request one. The bathroom fittings, unlike the bedroom, were quite old and worn but perfectly usable.

There was no housekeeping or room service of any kind. Since the hotel wasn’t serving breakfast for guests, there was nowhere to buy food or drinks at the hotel, but it was only a short walk to find a range of eateries. (Of particular note was the delicious freshly cooked food at Salassa Restaurant, along the main road going away from the beach.)

We were told that a new owner had recently bought Sapolohe and was planning to redevelop it, but it wasn’t clear what would happen or when.

Sea View from our RoomFor a Sea View on Stilts

Overall, Hotel Sapolohe is a good option for a quiet break, away from the central area of the village and overlooking the sea. I enjoyed the feeling of staying in a stilt house and the sea view from up above everything was fantastic.

Bira’s hotels are a mixed bunch with many friendly options up the main road away from the sea. If you’re intent on a sea view while still being close to the village, and you don’t mind paying a bit more, Hotel Sapolohe is a good choice.

Bira Beach Hotel Hell – Dirty, Smelly, Rat-Infested and Poor Service!

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

We had phoned ahead to confirm our late arrival at Bira Beach Hotel at Pantai Bira, South Sulawesi, and were assured that someone at the hotel would be up. However, on leaving our rental car in the midnight darkness, the hotel door turned out to be locked. We knocked and banged for a while and tried phoning the hotel number. Eventually someone woke up who sleepily showed us to our bungalow.

Pantai BiraOur Night in Hotel Hell

We were exhausted from our long journey all the way from Tana Toraja, and just wanted to have a shower and go to bed. But there was no running water. A sign informed us that during the night there was indeed no water, and that guests should save some water in the large plastic bucket provided. There were only a few centimetres of water in our plastic bucket.

The leftover sachet from someone else’s shampoo littered the bathroom and this rubbish, along with the ants and hairs in the bed, suggested that the room had not been cleaned. We used our limited water to wash our faces and brush our teeth before quickly retiring to bed. There wasn’t even water to flush the toilet.

Rats!

It was nearly 1am and we were so tired. Just as I was nodding off I was woken with a start by a scuttling sound beneath me—a rat’s footsteps! We got up again but couldn’t find the culprit and so returned to bed. I was almost ready to believe that my mind was playing tricks on me. Then suddenly there was a much louder noise. We immediately leapt out of bed and saw a large rat in one of the two holes above and below the air conditioning unit.

Rat holesAlthough not scared of rodents, we didn’t want to wake up to find holes chewed in our bags, let alone have rats running across our bed in the night. We expected better from a hotel that isn’t the cheapest in the area.

We returned to reception and after much banging and several tries at phoning we finally succeeded in rousing somebody who agreed we could move to a different bungalow, without a word of apology.

Moving Bungalows

We were offered no assistance in moving our luggage to the new room; indeed we were just given the new key and the staff went away. While we were moving our belongings there was a power cut and we were plunged into pitch black. Slowly and carefully moving by moonlight we moved to the new bungalow.

It was similar; a double bed, wooden veranda area with chairs, a cold water only bathroom with no running water at night, and an air conditioner. The new room was possibly slightly cleaner, with only one obvious piece of rubbish, a half-empty water bottle on the veranda. We were relieved that there were no rat holes.

Unfortunately the bathroom door was on its last legs and wouldn’t close. The smell from the bathroom permeated through the bungalow. When the electricity at last came back on we turned on the air conditioning to try to get rid of the bathroom smell. When we woke up in the morning it had mysteriously switched itself off.

Excuses and Apologies

The next morning we were given towels, toilet tissue and soap. When I asked why we didn’t receive them upon check-in, I was told that the hotel had run out of towels at that time. I explained our complaints, from poor service to rats, but the member of staff seemed disinterested and did not offer an apology.

A while later, another staff member came and heard our complaints. She did apologise and said she would make a note that the bungalow with rats should not be used until the problem was fixed. She offered us a discount, which she honoured when we checked out later that day. We had had enough of Bira Beach Hotel and nothing would make us stay there again.