September 27, 2017

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa

I spent the past long weekend with my colleagues for a company retreat at The Westin Langkawi. The last time I had been in Langkawi was 5 years ago, when Heidi was just 6 months old.

So anyway, this was a kids-free trip for me, and the hotel really was quite nice. Here are some pictures of the lobby.

And this is the room - it had 2 queen-sized beds in it. The Westin calls their beds the "Heavenly Beds" and indeed we had a very comfortable sleep in them!

It was a free and easy trip, except for dinner on the 1st night, but we had quite a fun time with DIY props and a photobooth which we put together just the day before.

And Langkawi being a duty-free island, we had sparkling wine for breakfast!

The next day, we took a short buggy ride provided by the hotel to their sister property just next door, the St. Regis Langkawi.

This was the main purpose of us coming here - to have afternoon tea! The tea sets are quite worth it as it is RM135 nett per set (for 2 pax) with two pots of TWG tea. And if you are an SPG member, you can get between 10 to 20% off, depending on your membership tier.

We were very full from tea (we even had to tapao the leftovers back), but when in Langkawi, seafood cannot be missed! We were recommended to try Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant in Pantai Cenang for dinner that night. We had rented a car from the airport on the day we arrived (it was RM140 for 2 days) so it was quite easy to get around as our hotel is located in Kuah, which is about 40 minutes drive away.

It was raining the first two days, but on the final day, the sun was out! It was a beautiful day in Langkawi and I finally managed to get some nice pictures of the hotel grounds and view of the sea.

Before leaving, we had a spa session at the hotels Heavenly Spa.

The hour ended all too soon and then it was time to leave. It was a relaxing trip with just the girls and we hope to be back. Next time Ritz-Carlton maybe? :)

September 14, 2017

Marriot's Mai Khao Beach, Phuket

Over the long National Day and Hari Raya Haji holiday, we took the girls for a short getaway to Marriot's Mai Khao Beach, Phuket. We received a special offer for a free 3 nights stay here in exchange for our attendance at a 90 minutes presentation for Marriot Vacation Club. A friend who is a Vacation Club member had recommended us for this package, which also included round trip transportation from the airport to the resort. This was our first time to Phuket.

There are actually direct flights from Penang to Phuket on Firefly, but as there were 6 of us travelling (including Hubby's niece), we took Malaysia Airlines transiting in KLIA as it was around RM100.00 cheaper per person. It may not seem much for one person, but x 6 we saved quite a lot! So we left Penang at 10 am and arrived in Phuket around 2.30 pm as they are an hour behind us. The transport was waiting for us on our arrival and it took around 15 minutes drive to the resort only.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to the reception desk and they gave us welcome drinks and bracelets. They then escorted us to our 2-bedroom villa apartment. We chose to upgrade the room to one with a private plunge pool for an additional USD30 per night, and it was worth the upgrade :) In the master bedroom there was a huge king size bed (which could easily fit all 5 of us I think) and in the 2nd bedroom there were 2 queen-sized beds. So all of us slept very comfortably. There were also 2 bathrooms, and both bathrooms had bathtubs - the one in the master bathroom was huge! The kitchen came fully equipped with fridge, microwave and all sorts of pots, pans, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery etc. And best of all, there was also a washer and dryer with laundry detergent. I think I made use of this the most so I had hardly any laundry to do when we got home :)

Here are some pictures of the apartment:

I had done some research before we came to see what was around the resort, and found out that there is a small shopping area just next to the resort called Turtle Village, where there were some restaurants and also a small supermarket where we could buy stuff to cook in the hotel. Incidentally, we were given the room just right next to the entrance to Turtle Village which is this:

You will need the room card to access the entrance from the outside for security reasons as Turtle Village can be accessed by the public. So anyway, speaking of Turtle Village, we did try some of the food there. Here are some of the places and food we tried:

Bill Bentley Pub - green curry chicken, pad thai and pork fried rice:

The Coffee Club - baked eggs, pancakes and green curry chicken (again!):

Swensen's Ice Cream:

The girls' choices:

Hubby's choice - durian ice cream with sticky rice! He said it was quite delicious :)

There is a turtle shaped fountain there, which the girls found quite fascinating:

Besides this, we also tried some local food. There was a stall selling sticky rice, grilled chicken and papaya salad (som tam) just opposite Turtle Village. We bought some back to eat in the hotel and it was really delicious.

From my research, I also found out that there were some local restaurants near the beach serving authentic Thai food. So we tried 2 different ones on different nights for dinner. This was at Singh's Seafood Restaurant. 

We had fried kangkung, mango sticky rice, stir fried vegetables, tom yum kung and green curry chicken (yet again!).

Apparently it's also recommended on TripAdvisor.

The next night, we tried JJ's Bar which I personally preferred compared to Singh's. 

Here we had (no surprises) green curry chicken, stir fried vegetables, tom yum kung and deep fried prawns.

We also ta-paoed their fried rice to eat the next morning for breakfast since we could re-fry the rice in the kitchen.

We also indulged in some of the hotel's pastries at their in-house deli called Delights. The nice lady working there told us that if we bought the pastries between 6pm to 9pm, it would be on 50% discount :) This is the interior of Delights: 

Okay, so enough about food (we actually had green curry chicken every day of our trip!), here are some photos of the resort surroundings:

This was Sala Thai, where they had classes for Thai boxing, zumba and also movie screening:

Walkway outside our room:

Kids' pool:

Main pool:

Our resort is not directly on the beach, but there is free shuttle which took us to the neighbouring sister resorts the JW Marriot Resort & Spa and Marriot Phuket Beach Club (which share the same facilities). Mai Khao Beach is beautiful, but because of the strong waves, swimming is not allowed. Perhaps that is also why it's quite deserted.

We found a safe inlet for the kids to play in:

My little sunburnt mermaid!

Love this one - it's now my wallpaper on my desktop :)

There were also these nice cocoon swings which we took a lot of pictures in haha.

So what else did we do in Phuket? We didn't leave the vicinity of the resort at all because there was so much to do! Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday for the kids without swimming! Besides swimming in our own private pool, they also thoroughly enjoyed the kids' pool where there was a slide and main pool where there was a shaded shallow area for the kids to play in.

Oh, and we were quite fortunate to able to catch a fire ceremony show which is held by the poolside every Tuesday only.

This resort also had a Kids' Club which had activities the whole day to entertain the kids. Most of the activities are free, so the girls did spend quite a considerable time there, when they weren't in the pool!

Hair braiding:

Chocolate dip surprise (which was essentially bananas dipped in chocolate and then rainbow sprinkles) :)

Bike riding:

Mocktail mixing:

And fishing! Hannah was thrilled to actually get one fish (which they then threw back into the river).

So all in all, it was a good and fun trip. We did not sign up for the Vacation Club membership at the end of the day, just to allow us more flexibility in choosing our hotels and resorts whenever we want to go on holiday. And not to mention, it is definitely not cheap! Haha.

Goodbye, Marriot's Mai Khao Beach. We hope to be back again :)


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