Budget inns in KL costs RM 60

lcct lounge

I flew in to KL on the last flight out of Sibu and arrived exhausted, hoping to stay at the executive lounge for the night. Unfortunately, the LCC-T premium lounge experience charges a not-so-low-cost of RM 80 for 3 hours (!). Thus, I took the SkyBus down to KL Central and looked for a budget inn to stay.

hotel de sentral

There is one right opposite the station, called De Sentral Hotel. The front glass façade is grilled and padlocked from the inside to prevent untoward incidents. I’ve never thought of KL Central as a crime prone area but the person of Indian nationality clutching a can of Guinness Stout and drinking out of it from a straw (?) while occasionally throwing up foam into the gutter seem to intimidate quite a few passerby’s. ;)

hotel de sentral montage

De Sentral Hotel isn’t anything to write home about – the “hotel” is actually a converted shoplot, as can be seen by the maze-like interconnections between the rooms. It is relatively clean, with shared bathrooms and a room that has a sink and a single bed. It costs RM 60 nett per night and even comes with a small TV to boot.

hotel de sentral room

Much to my dismay though, the rooms are freshly painted. The entire area insults the olfactory senses with the miasma of fresh paint, which never fails to give me migraines. It’s a good thing I’m still down with the flu so my desensitized sinuses were a blessing in disguise.

hotel de sentral light

There is a small window inside every room, which unfortunately has the side effect of causing the hallway light to shine right into your eyes – not exactly ideal sleeping conditions. Oh well. I was just there for the night before picking up the keys to the condo the next morning.

Anyway, I’ve moved into the new condo and am in the process of getting a TM Homeline and Streamyx. I don’t have net access at home so I have been relegated to updating at either Starbucks or McDonald’s. I have been busy moving house during the weekend, but I promise there will be daily updates from now on.

Cheers!

TuneHotels.com KL review

tune hotel display

I first heard of Tune Hotels when I saw their functional display at the LCCT terminal at KLIA. It sounded like a great concept – a clean budget hotel with the basics and prices starting from just RM 9.99. It’s operated by the AirAsia conglomerate and I decided to book a room to experience the concept hotel.

tune hotel

The hotel is located near the Medan Tuanku Monorail Station and the interesting thing about the hotel is that it’s not called Tune Hotel. It’s called TuneHotels.com. It’s like 1997 all over again, with the dot com craze. The other thing that impressed itself upon me was the vast amount of advertising that’s plastered around the facade. It’s like the hotel is one gigantic billboard!

tune reception

The price of the hotel rooms fluctuates according to demand, much like AirAsia tickets. I got our double room for RM 48.99. The price is for the room only, and everything extra is charged. Towels and soap goes for RM 15, air conditioning is charged at RM 6.83 for 5 hours and RM 13.49 for 12 hours, and WiFi is available for RM 12 for 24 hours.

tune anchor

TuneHotels.com also implements the interesting concept of “anchor franchise tenants” – there is a 7Eleven, a Subway and another franchise eating establishment at the lobby. TuneHotels.com has a very stringent check-in policy. The check-in time is at 2 pm and no one gets to check in before the designated time. Thus, there’s a huge queue of people waiting at the lobby, which usually ends up patronizing the franchise tenants. Amazing marketing…

tune hotels exterior

The check-out time is at 10 am – 2 hours before the regular 12 pm check-out time for hotels, which is something to watch out for. I didn’t remember and was awakened from my blissful ethanol induced slumber at 11 am by housekeeping to politely remind me that the check-out time is at 10 pm. They don’t charge you for overstaying though, so it’s still alright.

tune rooms

The rooms at TuneHotels.com are as small as everyone says. There’s hardly enough space for two people to pass through the corridor! It looks a little like a love hotel too, as my girlfriend commented – there are pink neon lighting surrounding huge mirrors (probably for increase spatial perception) and the luminosity from a lot of the fixings are neon in nature. The bathroom is a little small and cramped, but I can’t complain for the price – and it’s very clean to boot.

tune room ads

One thing you may have noticed from the photos is that there are a lot of advertisements even in the room. I could count a McDonald’s ad, a CIMB Bank ad, a Visa card ad, and a Maggi instant noodles ad vying for eyeballs in the bedroom itself! It’s staggering!

tune floor ads

An advertiser sponsors each and every floor at TuneHotels.com too, much like the KL Monorail…

tune fav

…this is my personal favorite. ;)

tune danger

The architect of TuneHotels.com is a proponent of the minimum space, maximum occupancy philosophy and this leads to the height of the rooms being extra low. I nearly hit my face on the ceiling fan (when it was on full blast!) while standing up on the bed. Granted, there are signs warning you against the perils of the low hung ceiling fan causing unfortunate incidents, but still…

tune anna

You get to meet a lot of people at TuneHotels.com too, the backpacker types – this is Anna from Gold Coast, Australia who kindly pulled up a chair for me when I went down for a smoke at 2 am in the morning (which was why I look half asleep). She’s here on a modeling assignment.

tune end

I’m impressed with Datuk Tony Fernandez’s business acumen. Sponsored floors! Advertising in the elevators! Franchise tenants! The commercialization of the TuneHotels.com operation is staggering. Personally, I don’t mind as long as the savings are passed down to the guests. :)

Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa

kenko fish spa

Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa is a relatively new concept spa and reflexology center offering the unique doctor fish treatment for your feet. Doctor fish spas have sprung into popularity last year and a lot of people have been to Kenko Fish Spa, which has outlets throughout the Klang Valley.

kenko reception

I went to the Kenko Fish Spa in Pavilion, KL to experience the doctor fish spa. It costs RM 38 per person for a 30 minute session inside the doctor fish spa pool. I’ve been keen to check out the doctor fish ever since I’ve read about it on several blogs – it sounds interesting.

kenko tag

You are given a tag to clock in the Kenko Fish Spa area, and an attendant will direct you to the pre-treatment area. The tag initiates the start of your timing block, and allows you access to the general doctor fish spa pool. There are also private rooms if you’re more inclined to enjoy the fish treatment in seclusion.

kenko fish wash

Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa starts the doctor fish spa session by requesting users to wash their feet first. This is not just for hygiene purposes – chemicals from body lotion and creams can contaminate the pool water and probably cause the doctor fish to float belly up. Body lotion is not exactly sauce to complement the dead flesh the fish eats from your feet. ;)

kenko fish spa pool

The fish spa at Kenko in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur features a central pool with larger species of the doctor fish and a trench bordering the perimeter with smaller versions of the Garra rufa and Cyprinion macrostomus.

kenko fish spa large

I went into the central pool first and the doctor fish swarmed around my feet and started nibbling away at the dead flesh. It felt a little ticklish at first, but after a while, the sensation is actually quite pleasant.

My girlfriend however, nearly screamed when she put her feet inside and quickly jumped out. The attendant kindly told her that the trench surrounding the area has smaller versions of the doctor fish and would probably be suited for the more squeamish ones amongst us.

kenko fish spa small

I joined her at the trench area after feeding the bigger doctor fish in the central pool. I figured it would work better to let the larger doctor fish feast on the larger and hardened chunks of dead flesh on my feet before letting the smaller ones take care of the rest.

The interesting thing about the doctor fish is that it not only feasts on the dead skin and flesh on your feet, but also on your legs. There are signs that warn against putting your hand inside the water, but I did just that and the doctor fish swarmed around it too and started nibbling away at the dead skin. :)

kenko

Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa @ Pavilion, KL offers a nice view of the city from the glass panel windows while the doctor fish takes care of the dead skin and flesh from your feet. It’s very relaxing and my feet was noticeably smoother after the treatment.

kenko sibu

Due to the popularity of the doctor fish spas, even Sibu has started its very own treatment center…in an inflatable pool right in the middle of a shopping mall. Instead of luxurious wood paneling, you get plastic chairs to sit on.

kenko sibu fish spa

It’s called “Love Bite Fish Spa Happy Feet” and some enterprising soul charges RM 15 for a 30-minute session inside the stagnant inflatable pool containing a handful of doctor fish. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly falling over myself to sit down on a plastic chair and put my feet in an inflatable pool in the middle of the mall.

kenko fish spa me

Give me Kenko Reflexology & Fish Spa any day. ;)

Transit Point

transit point night

Transit Point is a budget accommodation facility located in the heart of Kuching. It has just been recently completed and features WiFi in every room. The rates start at RM 35 nett which is slightly more expensive than the RM 30 nett charged by it’s main competitor – Singgahsana Lodge. However, the two places are different in many ways.

transit point reception

Transit Point provides a more private environment with a room consisting of a double bed and air conditioning (and television and WiFi to boot) while Singgahsana provides dormitory style accommodations sleeping 10 in a room (without WiFi). Transit Point provides towels for free too, which is chargeable (RM 2) in Singgahsana Lodge.

transit point shower

Transit Point also features shared toilets and shower units but the place is very clean and there’s a soap/shampoo dispenser in the cubicles. Smoking is not allowed in both places (except outdoors).

transit point room

I would recommend Transit Point if  you want the privacy of your own room and a larger bed with an air conditioned room. Singgahsana Lodge would be more suitable for people who wants interaction (and doesn’t mind leaving their notebook filled with incriminating photos and videos in a room with 9 other strangers). ;)

transit point irene

Transit Point just costs RM 35 nett per night. I stayed there during my recent trip to Kuching (the 12 hour grueling trip where I nearly missed my express boat back) and was happy with the place. I’ll definitely do a return visit when I’m on a shoestring budget.

The Spring

the spring

The Spring is one of the newest shopping centers in Kuching. The mall was still under construction when I left Kuching about two years ago and it’s almost fully occupied now. The Spring reminds me of Chadstone Mall in Melbourne, Australia with its sprawling two (three including the basement) story layout.

spring interior

tHe Spring – that’s the official capitalization policy of the enterprise – is billed as a lifestyle mall offering retail experiences. The term “retail experience” seem to be replacing the more common vernacular of “shopping” in marketing lingo. I was aflutter with delirious exuberance in anticipation of the sojourn to this new retail experience establishment!

quiksilver

Sarcasm aside, I really did want to see what it’s like coz I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Irene picked us up from the airport and sent us to our hotel to check in before driving us to tHe Spring. It’s located at Jalan Simpang Tiga and it just opened on 10th of January 2008.

spring coins

Irene told us that people have been throwing coins into this water feature in The Spring, perhaps mistaking it for some kind of wishing well (wishing umbrella?). The management of The Spring actually had to sand blast a sign into the glass perimeter on all floors reminding visitors not to throw coins into the water feature. :)

spring gawai

The Spring had a feature for the upcoming Gawai (Harvest Festival) celebrations with a replica longhouse complete with traditional Iban musical instruments on display and not-so-traditional piped music from hidden speakers on loop for ambiance.

quiksilver girl

Quiksilver is represented at The Spring, as well as their female line Roxy. I went in and found a tag (I seriously don’t know what this thing is actually called) that I purchased back in 2003 and lost somewhere during a particularly excessive drinking session. It’s supposed to be worn around the neck for name tags/smart cards and such but I use it for aesthetic purposes.

quiksilver tag

There is a hook on the tag that can be attached (to a name tag/smart card) but the hook can also be attached to the belt loop on a pair of jeans. I just like the way it looks hanging down from the belt loop on a pair of jeans. It’s a bit garish, I know, but I like it. :)

spring irene

Irene sends her regards.

Genting Highlands Indoor Arcade

genting funtasy world

Genting Highlands has an indoor arcade and theme park which people throng through during the night when the outdoor theme park is closed.

genting indoor arcade

The indoor arcade is called Funtasy World and has
rides, simulations and games. I went with Rene after a session in the
casino. The credits come in a swipe card instead of coins.

Gunshot

genting gunshot

Gunshot is a game where a digital rifle is fired upon targets at
monitor screens about 5 meters away. The game allows 30 shots for RM 10
and its quite fun to play around with.

genting gunshot me

The rifle is attached to a cord which registers a hit when the bull
eye is hit by the rifle. I played with this game for quite a while.
It’s like a digital shooting range.

Premier K-Box

genting kbox

The K-Box is a self enclosed kiosk that allows you to choose from a
variety of songs for karaoke singing. One song is RM 2 and there is a
touch screen to select from.

Harley-Davidson motorbike simulation

genting harley

I also got on the Harley-Davidson motorcycle simulation though the
streets of LA. You literally have to steer the motorbike using the
actual size of the Harley-Davidson.

Bass Fishing

genting bass fishing

Rene played the more passive bass fishing simulator. There is a cord attached to a real fishing rod that you use to fish with.

Top Skater

genting skate

Top Skater by SEGA Skateboarding is another simulator that we got
on. It’s pretty fun coz the control is via an actual skateboard
attached to the arcade machine.

Namco Trackball

genting trackball

There was also this weird game by Namco where you roll a trackball
like device which I played with Rene. I don’t know what it’s supposed
to do so we just guessed and I won the game. Heh!

Namco Drums

genting drums

One of the more exotic games is the Namco drum arcade game where you
hit the huge drums. The game play is pretty unusual and I like arcade
machines with unusual control schemes.

SEGA Dinosaur King

genting card game

I don’t know how to play this game but I went on it anyway. It’s
some kind of card battle game like Magic: The Gathering except it’s in
Japanese and I couldn’t figure out what to do.

Kart Duel Go-Kart simulator

genting go kart

This is the last game that we played. It’s a Go-Kart simulator with
real Go-Kart controls and I managed to soundly beat Rene (or was it the
other way round?).

Washing dirty linen in public

launder kuching

My damn washing machine broke down (to be fair, it’s been in service
ever since I came to Kuching to work) so I had to use a laundry to get
my linen services done in the mean time. LAUN’DER Laundry Services and Dry Cleaning is located just behind my office and they washed, dried and ironed about 12 kgs of miscellaneous items for just RM 10.40.

launder kuching girl

The staff is friendly and the turnaround time is fast (same day service).

It’s perfect for washing dirty linen in public. ;)

Kuching International Airport upgrade

kuching international airport new

Kuching International Airport (affectionately
dubbed KIA coz flights gets delayed all the time) has just upgraded the
upper concourse so all departures have been diverted to the second
(third?) floor check in counters. It looks remarkably similar to KLIA…

kuching international airport customs

The Customs checkpoint has also received a hefty upgrade, with more
personnel and detector wands and scanners that can actually SEE through
the tangle of cables in your notebook carrying case and isolate the
prescription medication that you have a legitimate script for. The
previous old X-ray machines didn’t have the resolution (or penetration)
to see through the Cables of Obscurity (Wearer gains +6 in concealing
stuff).

kuching international airport boarding

The similarities between Kuching International Airport and KLIA ends
at the boarding gates – Kuching International Airport has merchandise
counters inside the boarding gates.

Capitalism at it’s very best! ;)

Senso club @ Hilton Kuching

senso hilton

senso is one of the latest hang out places in town
- it’s located in Hilton Hotel in Kuching. It’s supposed to be a
club…there is a resident DJ, but it feels more like a chill out place
to me.

senso entrance

The interior of senso is done tastefully, with sophisticated seating arrangements and carefully placed decors and lighting to create a warm ambience.

senso seating

The place is spacious, with precise attention on the different
seating areas which range from bar stools to large, comfortable
couches. There are personal flat screen TV’s and larger screens
positioned sporadically.

senso bar seating

The best seats in the place are behind the privacy shroud of the
open bar (open as in open space, not as in free flow drinks). There is
a long semi-circular area with tiny pillows as a back rest and tables
planted every few feet.

senso dj

There is a resident DJ playing chill out music on a lime green
podium which matches the lime green seats and orange hued glowing
tables at the back.

senso bar

The bar area of senso is shrouded with a bead
curtain that shimmers in the light, creating an impression of a water
feature behind the bar. The service is attentive and the staff polite,
which is expected of a joint of this nature.

senso tour

Download: senso video tour [sixthseal.com]

You will require DivX [divx.com] to view the video.

senso group

It was Ee Fen’s last day in Kuching, so we went to senso
for a couple of drinks. I went there with Cherie and Ericka and met up
with a couple of Ee Fen’s friends there. Ee Fen is doing Pharmacy in
IMU which is a Good Thing (TM). ;)

senso cocktails

Senso has a wide variety of cocktails and snacks on their menu.

senso dirty martini

I had a Dirty Martini (RM 18) which is made with Bombay Sapphire, Extra Dry Vermouth, Olive Juice and Green Olives. Olives is teh pwn3d…

senso toilet

Senso has really nice toilets, and the toilet has…

senso tv

…a flat screen TV.

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