Friday, 25 December 2009

A Deluxe Room With A View

Golden Mile complex at dawn is a bustling place. It is from here that the majority of buses to Malaysia depart.

We began our third trip to the Genting Highlands from this location on December 20th and on this occasion we chose another coach line - Transtar. On past trips we had travelled with Formosa Travel which meant departing from less salubrious neighbourhoods about 6:30 am. This time there was the promise of a better bus and greater comfort.

Golden Mile at dawn

The coach turned out to be adequate with wider aircraft-styled passenger seats and air conditioning nozzles that were the worse for wear. This meant that it was impossible to switch off the icy blast for the entire journey and resulted in most of us having a case of the 'sniffles' by journey's end.

The style of the seat reminded me that these coach services are facing serious competition from the budget airlines; it is now possible to fly to Kuala Lumpur for about the same price as it is to take the bus. Flying takes an hour and the trip to Genting by bus, six and a half hours.

Even though this was a different coach line it stopped at the same diabolical refreshment centre as Formosa's buses did. The food was just as inedible as on previous occasions and the toilets no cleaner.

The journey was uneventful and we arrived at our destination at the allotted time - 3 pm.

I should point out that this time we had planned to stay at the four star Resort Hotel rather than the 3 star First World. Regrettably most of Singapore had the same idea and all rooms were taken as we had to settled for the First World once again. This time though we were promised as Deluxe Room with a View as opposed to the deluxe room we had on our last stay, which had a view of a brick wall a few metres away.

It is that point that the holiday experience takes a sharp turn for the worse.

Our original idea for a short break was to go to the Cameron Highlands but the thought of a nine hours bus journey put us off. The irony was that having spent more than six hours on a coach to Genting we had to wait in a crowded group tour room for a further three hours while staff processed our reservations and handed out room keys. It would have been as quick to go to the Cameron Highlands.

We had requested a non smoking room on a non smoking floor when our booking was accepted. When we finally got to the reception counter however there were no Deluxe Rooms with View on non smoking floors left in the more modern Tower Two. We therefore had to accept Tower One, which is in need of major renovation. There were holes where fittings had been and some deluded former occupier had even attempted to prize the perfectly hideous art print out of its frame. Unfortunately they had not succeeded.

The same old problems of people smoking on these non smoking floors re emerged and the staff chose simply to ignore it. Hotel security spent most of their time slouched over the morning newspaper or conversing on their personal mobiles.

Our room was indeed a room with a view and the view was.... cloud. To be more precise cloud with rain, which is not so surprising given the altitude.

On the third day there was a glimpse of the theme park below but it wasn't until the morning that we left that the sun broke through.

Click on the book for the larger images

The inclement weather meant that the hordes of children on their summer holiday were unable to spend much of it outside and had to be content with the video and games arcades within the complex.

The rain also meant leaks and buckets in the 24th floor lobby. As we were on the highest floor I can only presume that the roof immediately above was less than weather proof.

One final observation about our Genting experience and the First World hotel; at meals we had a choice watching China tour parties spitting their bones and lemon pips directly on to the table, or fighting off the Indian tour parties who attempted to commandeer our chairs at every opportunity.

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