Fraser's Hill - Day 1, Part 2 - Arriving at the Smokehouse
Reading the website about Smokehouse gave me the impression that the place was trying hard to invoke a feeling that the visitors were in an English cottage rather than in Malaysia, but only succeeded in doing it half-baked. In the end the experience was rather hit and miss, some of the review good, some lukewarm while others were downright negative. I did not really have a great expectation of the place. And when I reached there, I was mightily surprised and hugely pleased. Having stayed in England for many years and spent a few weekends in English country cottages, I can assure you the feeling was nearly as authentic. It was like England in fall as the weather was not as dreadful - Yes! Weather is England is dreadful outside summer! This was especially true when it was misty at night. That old air into the lungs while listening to the tranquility of the forest is a contrasting experience, but something I would recommend to all you city dwellers. It was only 100km away, but it felt more than that.
We were greeted by the Manager, Mr Hafiz, a smart gentleman in his late forties who seemed to always say the right word. I was initially put off with the fact that apart from him and a couple of cleaners, the rest of the staffs were from Myanmar. The feeling soon disappeared as they were eager to help, a couple of them spoke impeccable English and understood Malay. As an example, later in the afternoon, as we returned from getting our maids some soup for supper from a nearby stalls, rather than telling us off for bringing outside food, they actually offered some bowls and cutlery. That was just classy in my book.
Hafiz was leaving for KL the same afternoon, and we were under the capable hands of the Supervisor, Henry. The hotel comprised of the main house where the reception, TV room, restaurants and bar were situated. There were also a few of rooms there with a couple of small seating area and small offices should one need to do some work.
My family and in-laws stayed at a small cottage at the back of the main building. We stayed in Owen Room, complete with a queen size bed and a pair of bunk beds. Unfortunately it was me who had to sleep on the bunk bed as the boys wanted their mother. There was no TV in any of the rooms. We were supplied with a heater and the toilet was very clean and comfortable, although as the floor was tiled, they were cold and slippery when wet. We actually used the supplied towels to line up the floor to make sure that the boys were OK. My in-laws stayed next door at Ashley, with parquet flooring. Therefore, it was conformable and warm. Owen had a balcony overlooking the mountain range. In the evening when it was misty, we had the feeling as if we were in the clouds. Insect was a problem however.
Our driver, niece and the maids stayed in another building on the other side of the compound. These rooms were pretty basic, next to each other with an adjoining door. I can see these being suitable if you were visiting with a group of friends. It was called the Halcyon Rooms.
After we settled in, I went out with my camera and started snapping. I was later joined by the rest for tea and scones. These were actually in the house, they were prepared in-house and was damn right tasty. We had it in the reading room while enjoying some music and reading the magazines. My boys were really excited with the tea and smearing the butter on the scones. We didn't feel like doing anything else, and after tea, the boys spend the rest of the afternoon on the swings at the garden next door.