and there’s a good reason why I’m NOT a hotel critique …

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Ahhh… how I miss my favorite hotel chain. extra BIG pillows of my preference 
…….… nope, they don’t have the buckwheat type, if you’re wondering. And nope, I’ve not tried it yet.

those full & fluffy down 
…….… the type that makes you think you’re could very well be an angle snuggling amidst the clouds 
{or that damn bugger egg yolk that fell into the bowl of whipped up meringue!}.
and of course silky soft high thread count sheets 
….… that caresses every inch of your bare skin.
plus clever well thought out lighting placement and type that’s for both relaxation and reading.
Seriously, how many 5-star hotels you’ve been to has terrible reading lights? ENOUGH 
Frustrated by that I once lugged around a super bright, compact study lamp that probably saved my eyesight’s rapid deterioration working on my lappie way into the night cursing the only two miserable air-dried coffee sachet that’s given complimentary. As for the 2nd source of frustration, I’ve refined the art of robbing the housekeeping cart or simply talking the housekeeping staff into giving me fists full of sachets.
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JOHOR BAHRU

I had thought that Johor Bahru’s experience was bad.
Walking in, every atom shook as it shrilled with embarrassment that its still frozen in time – i.e. being in the 1980s!!!!

In need of a refurbishment, the property showed stains from years of traffic and abuse; cherry red wood trimmings with scratches all over it, vertical surfaces weren’t spared either. But those weren’t the reasons that made the Johor Bahru experience bad. In fact, it was something I would cease to remember in a couple of weeks – rather an oddity given my photographic and lasting visual memory.

So, what’s the thing that made it bad andmemorable?
My room was two floors above and some 200 metres or so away from the railway tracks – a fact that I naturally was oblivious when I checked-in at 1-ish am only to be woken up in a jolt and confused state at 2:33 am by a cargo train dragging its way through with its heavy burden and metal wheels clanking away. 
This fact of course was not obvious at 2:33 am but at about 6-ish am after I had reconciled to the fact that after my second wake-up call at 4-ish am – this time with a throbbing headache – I was not going to be able to sleep again.
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KUCHING
Still fresh from the ‘memorable’ experience, my next ‘hole’ is called ‘GrandMa’ – an affectionate name given by the locals. It’s apparently a new name given to an establishment that failed to comply to my favorite hotel chain’s request for a 30 million ringgit refurbishment, subsequently losing the hotel’s management and name.
Saddled with half-arse refurbishment where had I been 10% fatter or heavier, maneuvering in the bathroom would have been akin to a killer whale being stuck in the Straits of Malacca… or me trying to get past a hurdle in the ‘Hole in the Wall’ game show – which is ridiculously silly – not that I’ve ever watched it – but ya know, snippets of it caught my attention amongst televised advertisements. 
But as if I am being put on a ‘test’ by the Heavenly Gods – having survived a state of confusion and throbbing temples the night before and a horrendously bumpy flight that was cruising at a height that has Bernoulli’s principle being proven in my ear ducts – the curtains were way too sheer for me to crawl into bet at 3 pm! Desperately I tried to draw them nonetheless and was instead met with a pang of great disappointment taking note that my view was a goddamn roundabout with a group of intense looking giant cats – the very same cats I hunted down Cat Town some years back to no avail!
Unable to confirm if the Rejang River view was not one of a floating sewerage, I decided it was best not to know as it would be a tough challenge for any view to be worse that a roundabout with Bata, McDonalds, some Chinese Sharks fin shop, CIM-Bank (yucks!), Standard Chartered, Al Rajhi Bank, Parkson and the lane heading towards the jetty …  I did say I have a photographic memory… so, there.

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KOTA BAHRU

Today I knew was going to be the worst the moment the airplane rolled down the runway after an abrupt THUMP! which as if anyone of us needed a hard knock to get us out of a stupor. Though the more I think about it and allow my suspicious and cynical brain cells have a ball of a time postulating ridiculous reasons, some of my grey matter deserves to be ‘listen’ to. The THUMP! was a punishment for our collective disinterest in purchasing any refreshment when we were airborne, given that the flight was just over an hour – the trouble with no frills flight meets cheap skate pampered human beings.
That aside, the runway was void of any other planes and the first thing that caught my eye was a rumah pondok – one that was constructed of an extremely red shade of cherry red wood on stilts!

{ok – noted I hate cherry red for no apparent reason, but this is seriously different! This I swear is at a level of “cultural shock” type of different.}

The 5 star hotel – a renowned international chain – is co-joint to a narrow 6-storey departmental store that is mostly vacant and has Billion as its anchor tenant.

I seriously can’t believe that the corporate rate is RM330++.
For a similar standard of service and facilities, we would be paying RM88nett in Kuala Lumpur.

The peachy pink walls – uneven and peeling – with cold black and orange granite columns, artificial plastic Christmas tree green bumpy carpets with yes! blardee cherry red wooden trimming that was badly maintain and fused wall lights along the corridors … this place was without a doubt Penelope’s nightmare at its extreme.
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Coupled with my musty and dark room, bed heads were made of {oh gawd!!!} red cherry turned wood and man-made oxidized green metal trimmings, and polyester-cotton mixed sheet with alpine green ‘damask’ polyester green duvet … I swear I was in hell.
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Totally dampened and demoralized, my key card failed me 4 times within 3 hours of checking in, which at the pinnacle of my frustration, I had wanted to just camp out on the 8th floor that ‘houses’ the pool, spa and gym – the most palatable area in the entire establishment, save for the rock garden by the pool, overlooked by a dilapidated apartment badly in need of a coat of paint and the nearby centralized air conditioning unit condensers.  

But oh then Penny, what did you expect? This entire town is a backward slum. 

A dump… an under developed state whose kampung houses, sheds, zinc sheets and wooden plank shops just sprawls our endlessly.
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Ironically, set against all these interestingly are Bentleys, Cayennes, X5s and SLKs with women draped in long, shapeless “gowns” and headscarfs in multicolored “Missoni” meets “Versace” meets the Aurora Northern Lights at its best ala Thailand mari finished with faux Swarovski crystals carrying Gucci and Fendi handbags and adorning Rolex and Chopard wrist watches.

what a ‘world’!?!
Does redefine the word juxtapose for anyone who needed a visual definition.
Trust me, I so wanna be home NOW.
Nope, make it 7 hours ago – the very moment the plane rolled down runway.
Definitely once a lifetime place I’d ever go to. 22 more hours …. before I head home.
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P/S:
oh, did I say I actually missed not having CNN? {shaking head in disbelief}
This State. Only in this state who lacks proper central government funding by their own choice, has banned CNN. hmmmm…. didn’t know that CNN was deemed un-Islamic, but movies with Bay Watch like scenes are acceptable.

P/S 2:
and oh, jolly good {NOT}
Apparently if I join the hotel chain as a member I’d get free usage of wifi in its hotels across South East Asia … errr … thanks, but no thanks! 

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