As everyone was aware, during our trip to Melaka last weekend, we stayed at the brand new Holiday Inn right smack in the middle of Bandar Melaka. It was only right if I write a few words on the establishment. It appears to be a straight forward hotel, 4 stars I think, mainly with standard rooms, called deluxe. Each rooms equipped with flat screen TVs, access to rooms can be a pain at times as there were only three lifts for the tenants - with a separate service lift thankfully, a couple of eateries - one being a cafe next to the lobby and another n the second floor, a nearby conference centre and ballroom, on a separate area of the hotel accessed via the spacious lobby. There were 20 floors, with the top four being executive status. There was a nice pool area on the third floor - the main one carrying right to the edge, giving an illusion of one swimming into the sea - the infinity pool - with a separate children pool next to it.
There was also a spa and a gym - the gym being free for guests. There was also an executive lounge on the same level as the pool - rather than at the top near the executive rooms. This lounge were filled with magazine and a spacious sitting area. It also served breakfast - as part of the complimentary set if you don’t fancy mixing it with the commoners on the second floor - and evening supper from 6 to 8 pm. We stayed at the family suite, situated at the 19th floor and were given access to the lounge and the butler services there.
First and foremost, the hotel made effort to be children friendly. There was the separate pool for children as an example and a creche service - which we did not use. The restaurant also allow kids to enjoy free buffet if accompanied by a paying adult. Breakfast was inclusive, and offered a full local, English and Continental set. On one of the evening, we also sampled the buffet dinner. Now for the good bits; the room was very spacious and comfortable. We certainly got our money’s worth. The suite have a big bathroom with a separate shower and tub. There was a queen-sized bed and as expected, I slept at the lounge on the sofa bed. There were a couple of TV, one in the bedroom and another in the lounge. There was also a small open kitchenette with a dinner table to seat four. Parking was aplenty, either by the lobby area or on the lower ground floor which was covered and guarded, and can be accessed directly through the guest lift from the room. Parking was free. Getting in and out of the hotel by car was also simple and should you fancy, you can either walk to Dataran Pahlawan or take a trishaw. The pool was really nice according to Puan Anita with the deepest end being only 1.5m on the adult side. There was no life guard but since it was just outside the gym, staff was always available.
The breakfast was really decent. The staffs were helpful and well-organised. They always give priority to small families and try their level best to give us the better seats. The main breakfast area was spacious and open. Access was direct from the lift with no need for any stairs. Service was prompt.
Now to the not-so-good part. The food for dinner buffet and room service were both expensive and not very yummy. I had a steak on my first night upon arrival from KL. Failure. The boys’ nasi goreng were also plain and off the mark. The buffet cost us around RM250 - bearing in mind the kids eat free. The spread was minimal, and the main buzz was the seafood barbecue that they offer. The grill selection was disappointing. There was no fresh fish, let alone chicken or meat - mind you, the theme was seafood. Seafood was mainly prawns and shells. I skipped that. The nasi ayam was not very appetising, and so was the Italian and rice on offering.
Manchester United was playing that weekend and I had to give it a miss as the channels on TV did not include ESPN - just StarSports. There was only a single movie channel as well. We had a DVD player in our suite, so we were content with that. Internet was also only free for the first 30 minutes, but I had my own portable access with my E71. On the evening that we had the buffet, the lights were dimmed as Earth Hour dawned. The hotel took the initiative seriously, dimming the lights, and switching off the unnecessary ones. Staffs were stationed on each floor with torchlights to help us make our way to the room in absence of lighting.
On the whole, would I recommend the hotel to a friend? - yes. Would I stay there again? Maybe not the next time, as we fancy the Mahkota Hotel right next door! Will give that one a try after this! Variety is the spice of life after all.