Friday, 29 May 2009

Meeting A Fellow Blogger

I met with Yatie of on Monday and had a nice lunch with her at Little Penang Cafe, MidValley. Not only did she treated me for lunch, she got me some nice souvernirs too! Thanks Yatie!

The clogs keychain was from her trip to Amsterdam, which she went for a training and the Hong Kong magnet was from her trip with her family to Hong Kong and Disneyland. Isn't that nice of her? Everyone was saying how nice the Hong Kong magnet was.

Our lunch meeting was the first time I met her proper. We did went to the same Nuffnang-Friso Day Out event in Novemeber last year but didn't get to meet and talk to each other. I started reading her blogs after I searched on similar blogs entering the Nuffnang-Friso Day Out Event.

The most creative blog stood to win a trip to Hong Kong, which Yatie and her family won. I didn't go back empty-handed though, as I managed to get a RM100 MPH voucher that day.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Breakfasts At Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya And Petty Grouses

For the restaurants, we only went to two of three of Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya restaurants. (Zaini doesn't like Chinese Food or going into a Chinese Restaurant so Golden Phoenix is not on our must go and try list).

Check out my post on Kampachi here.

Upon entering the Cafe, the first question the staff asked us was for our breakfast voucher. I don't know about you, but there were plenty of times we checked-in to a hotel and given breakfast vouchers but the staff would normally seat us first before checking for our vouchers especially since there wasn't any other outlet that provides breakfast there. I guess it comes from dealing with mostly corporate guests and not too many walk-in or individual holiday makers. Call me petty...

Instead of being ushered to a table, we were left to find a table on our own after checking our vouchers. I can't help noticing flies getting rested on a few table napkins but Zaini told me not to blame the hotel for this. After all, doors open and fly can fly in. BUT at the very least the staff can shoo them away, right?

And don't expect the staff to flick open your napkin and place it on your lap here. You have two hands, you can very well do it yourself instead of acting like a pampered poodle (like me!). Requesting for coffee may mean you are served with coffee only. If you want milk with it, you may have to request for it instead of them asking whether you'd like one. And they didn't clear away the unused cups and plates i.e. we sat at a table for four. Normally, restaurant staff would clear away surplus cutleries, leaving only two sets to use so that the table is clear. Too much clutter on our table, we cannot put food on it!

The breakfast buffet spread was pretty much what one would expect from a breakfast spread. You have the continental choice - cereal, bread, cheese, sausages, french toast and you have the Asian choice - Nasi Lemak, noodles and even a Japanese counter here with natto available. Pretty decent spread I should say.

Zaini sulked a bit when he was informed that the restaurant don't serve green tea with the buffet. Well, we are not at Renaissance Club Level where pretty much what we wanted to eat can be arranged and we can drink whatever tea we want. We are not pampered poodles here! LOL And no Twinnings tea here, thank you very much. Although they do have Dilmah tea (but we're suckers for Twinnings!)

What we had for breakfast:
No need to overstuff our face with the buffet selection. Got to watch our food intake! But we did have fun counting how many yogurts one of the guests took! He made about a dozen trip to the yogurt counter and each time, the guy took four cups of yogurts. He can have a yogurt for breakfast at home for a month! LOL

So, what's our conclusion of our 3D 2N stay at Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya. Nice, spacious and clean room, nice view, mostly friendly staff. Service was not 100% to my liking, but then I have very high standard. Even though the hotel in not near to the main road, noise can still be heard of the nearby road and from airplanes to/fro KLIA.

I have a few more grouses to make to the Management since I am a fussy woman:

If one of your staff (Managers or otherwise) decided to "tapau" or take-away any food from the buffet spread, I would say it is more prudent for them to put the food on a plate rather than putting the food in a plastic food container in full view of the guests. Can I also take-away my food then?

I'm not sure about the rest of the room, but our room's shower are not exactly a kid friendly as the shower head was positioned too high. And no there were no kids meals available in the in-room dining menu. I guess family getaway is not exactly their target market here.

A certain frequency in sweeping/clearing the area from all the dead leaves should be made. Due to the greenery surrounding the hotel, it was inevitable that there'll be leaves falling everywhere. But, when the car-park, hotel courtyard and pool area were strewn with dead brown leaves, it lent a certain neglected feel to the hotel.

Overall, Zaini and Raimie likes the hotel just fine, so I guess that's good enough for me. But good enough may not mean a repeat visit. Heh heh

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Enjoying The Pool At Equatorial Bang-Putrajaya

The pool area was really nice and when we were there, there wasn't any noisy crowd at the pool. Plenty of "Mat Salleh" sun-bathing and a couple of families and kids in tow but it didn't feel crowded or noisy.
The pool is a free form pool surrounded by lush greenery. May not be an ideal pool for those looking to do a few laps but definitely great for others who just want to be in the water, horsing around.

It was also nice to use the jacuzzi pool without having it turn into a kiddie pool by some kids.
Even though the pool is next to Cafe LaVista, the view is somewhat blocked by all the coconut trees planted around the pool. Made a nice change from the pools at Marriott or Boulevard hotel which gave the restaurants' guests a full unhindered view of their pool.
A totally nice place to just laze around at.

The surrounding area was nice too and they got a koi fish pond too.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Spending The Night At Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya

Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya is about a half an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur City Centre if you use the Kuala Lumpur - Seremban Expressway (and pay RM2.70 toll for the privilege).

As this is our first time to this hotel, Zaini told me not to put too high of an expectation on what the hotel can deliver because when I do so, I tend to be very critical. And unfortunately, critical I can be.

The first impression will always be at the reception desk. Reception staff were friendly (most of them, anyway. Especially Chan and Malina - both guys. I joked to Malina that he had the same name as mine if he added a certain alphabet to his name) Chan was nice enough to make a courtesy call to check whether our room was OK. This may be a standard procedure but not all hotel staff practice this.

Our room was located almost at the end of a really long corridor.
A really spacious and roomy deluxe room. At the last minute, we decided to downgrade our room from executive deluxe to a deluxe room and I must say the deluxe room was really nice.
All rooms have a balcony complete with a table and chair for room guests to enjoy the scenery. We had a nice view of the pool and golf course. Green and blue - good for the eyes. :-)
Bathroom was also nice and spacious but instead of having to shower in the tub, I wish they put a separate shower stall for guests to enjoy their shower.
The shower's water pressure is a bit on low side unless you are willing to shower under a scalding hot water. Maybe this is one Eco-Friendly exercise they initiated. I must admit, I like to shower for a really long time under a jet of water when I checked in a hotel which definitely won't do anything to help save Planet Earth. No jet massage shower here. No bathrobes either.
Towels were given at a minimum and as part of their eco-friendly program, you can choose not to change your beddings and towels daily here.

Housekeeping was pretty efficient. Our room was clean and tidy by the time we came back from our breakfast. Maintenance staff deserves a mention too. I made a complaint about the TV reception (or lack thereof) fully expecting that it will get followed up the next day since I made the call at almost 10.00pm but within 10 minutes, a maintenance guy came knocking at the door.
I didn't catch his name but he was really nice and friendly and explained what was wrong with the reception. Even though the TV reception wasn't fully rectified immediately, I was really happy with the service, even though the constant interruption was a bit of an annoyance after a while. The management should look into this.

Talking about TV, the TV channels selection was quite impressive here. Apart from the usual free cable TV and selected Astro channels - Movies, Disney, Discovery, NHK, they have Arirang (Korean), BVN (Dutch), DW-TV (German) and TV5 Monde (French). I spent 10 minutes watching a mind numbingly boring Dutch gameshow called Blokken which seems to be a gameshow that involves contestants playing tetris.

TV channels selections might be impressive enough for me, but I do feel Equatorial Bangi needs to upgrade the old TV sets in the guest rooms. I think it's a 21 inch TV which is soooo outdated! If you want to see a nice big flat screen TV, I guess you'd have to book their suites.

Next up - Meals At The Hotel and The Pool!

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Weekend Break

We'll be heading to Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya for a weekend break. It's just a short distance away from our home in Balakong, and we chose the hotel because we didn't want to travel far. (But I kinda miss staying at Renaissance Hotel. I used to know all the staff at the Club Level but after almost two years not staying there, I doubt there are many that I know left there. Kinda miss the "VVIP" service that they gave there. LOL)

Checking in today, but Raimie will only join us after he finish his religious school classes at 5.00pm. So... for a few hours, we get the room for ourselves. Wohoo!

Planning to visit Kampachi Restaurant while we are at the hotel. Expect some photos of us dining at Kampachi posted at Urutora No Hi and some photos of the hotel here.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Food Promotion At Gardens

If you happen to be at Gardens Mall, Gardens Hotel put up a few food samplings tables at The Gardens Residence (entrance to Sage Restaurant) to promote their restaurants. In the morning, you can enjoy free coffee and during lunch there are assortments of sushi available for passers-by. I passed by after work and it seems there was food sampling from Ri Yakitori, complete with a big bottle of sake too. I would've dropped by but Zaini was already waiting for me. >_<

I simply can't resist asking them to pose for me, but the other Chefs there were too shy. The staff were very obliging and will be very happy to answer any question pertaining to the Gardens Hotel Restaurants.

It was rather funny when one of the Chef asked me whether the photo will turn up in a newspaper. LOL I told him if I'm taking photos for a newspaper, my camera will be much bigger!
I promised them that I'll spread the word around, so here goes:
The Spread - Early Bird Special for Buffet lunch and Buffet Dinner : RM85nett and RM95nett respectively. 4 to 5 persons - 20% discount, 6 to 7 persons - 30% discount, 8 to 9 persons - 40% discount and 10 persons and above - 50% discount. But you have to go from 11.30 am till 1.00pm for lunch and 6.00pm till 8.00pm for dinner.
Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar - 3 course set lunch at RM100.00. But I'm afraid even with my privilege card which entitles me to a 20% discount there, it'll still be too expensive for me. But I hear the food is good.
Tel: 03-22681328
And oh! Ri Yakitori is open for business. Anyone going?
Tel: 03-22681323

Then, I pass by Yo Sushi and saw this cute looking couple promoting Yo Sushi's Yo Sumo Price Knockdown and simply cannot resist asking them for a photo.

Let's eat sushi, yo! Hehehe

Preparing For Exam

Raimie is sitting for his school religious school exam this week and his primary school exam is next week. Got to prepare and revise with him to prepare him for the exam.

When both Zaini and I were in school, we didn't exactly have our parents worrying over us, to see whether we were studied or not for our exam. I had a fair share of my Mom "grumbling" about my dismal performance and the remark of "I thought so" whenever I failed to get the top 3 placings in my class.

Irregardless of what Raimie got for his exams, I will be supportive of him. Even so, I will make sure he studied and prepare for his exams and not play and watch TV so much this week. It is one thing putting unnecessary pressure to him, but it is another if we didn't have any expectation at all.

Good luck Son and do your best. No matter what, we are proud of you. :)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Tulips For Mama

Another photo taking learning session for us; this time I'm posting some photos o the tulips that I received for Mother's Day. These tulips happens to be the first few photos both Zaini and I shot with our Sony T90.

We are still learning our way around the features of our new camera, and the photos may not be any good for others, but we are definitely enjoying the process. :)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

A Night Swim

Lounging at the balcony just now, we saw that our apartment's swimming pool was empty so we decided to have a swim. It has been quite sometime since we swam here because it was always full of noisy people and we don't really appreciate crowds (not to mention that we are only at home during the weekends).

Raimie of course, was ecstatic to be able to go for a swim. He is one boy who loves water, but until now, despite our efforts to teach him to swim, he still unwilling to do so. (Unwilling as in, not wanting to let go and make effort to actually try to float himself without any help).

I decided to practise using our new Sony T90 camera, playing around with the features. Here are some photos of our apartment's swimming pool taken with different settings just to see the difference.

Will try and practise for more night photos in future. My photo taking session at the pool had to be cut short because it had started to rain.

I had quite a workout today too. Had an evening jog then a night swim and a bit of "exercise" at home afterwards. And it's yet 10.00pm! :D

Friday, 15 May 2009

No Go For Singapore Trip In June

A bit of a downer for me because my highly anticipated Singapore trip on June 8 has to be postponed indefinitely. (I loath to use the word "cancel").
We'll still be on leave from June 8 - June 10, but the venue got to be somewhere near. Oh well, maybe this is the time for us to "Cuti-Cuti Malaysia".
Nonetheless, Singapore - wait for me! LOL

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Souvenirs From Sarawak

My sis went to Sarawak last week and I requested her to buy some Kek Lapis Sarawak (Sarawak Layered Cake) for me.

I love these Kek Lapis. Not only are they delicious, they are also a work of art. Aren't the layered pattern simply gorgeous? To make them, one needs patience, concentration and time, not to mention skill.

I'm enjoying the six blocks of cakes my sis brought back for me and looking forward to sharing them with my in-laws, friends and colleagues.

Monday, 11 May 2009

To Lake Garden Again

Both Zaini and I love going to parks. We try to go to one at least once a week, but now that Raimie has plenty of school activities, our trips to the park had dwindled.

Photos of our trip to Lake Garden and this is at the Rumah Sampan (Boat House). We didn't rent any boats and just walked around enjoying the outdoor and eating ice-cream.

I wanted to zoom-in and take photos of the geese on the opposite bank, but this is the best my handphone camera can manage.
And it is always nice and relaxing to be near water and see water flowing. We sometimes see a guy meditating on the stones here (photo below)


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