At Home in Hotels

Hotels are cool, especially good ones. Luxurious ones. There’s just something relaxing about checking into a hotel and then plonking my heavy self on the bed, even when my travel is work related. And if it’s a luxurious hotel, the relaxing part rises another notch to become pampering.

On this note, therefore, I should really make it a point to write and rave about all the hotels I have been happy staying at. This blog is about 5 months old and it’s interesting that my hotel-related posts have been among the most read. And who knows, one day in the not-too-distant future I might run my own little boutique hotel?

I enjoy staying in hotels once in a while because it’s just relaxing to have my space organized for me, with little touches that I may not have thought of myself. I am not an architect or interior designer, but it is interesting and even inspiring sometimes to look at how a hotel room is laid out and decorated. I have brought some ideas home, such as having four pillows, two on each side of the bed–makes reading in bed so much easier! And I love buffet breakfasts, thanks to my hearty appetite. Breakfast is my favourite part of the day, so having a wide range of things to eat to my heart’s content is definitely an awesome way to start my day!

And anyone who writes would identify with how getting away from our familiar zones can help get the inspiration flowing…and what better place to run away to than a comfortable, romantic home away from home? Be it a rustic chalet by the sea in the tropics, or a gilded five star establishment right smack in the middle of a concrete jungle.

I can’t wait for my upcoming island getaways!

Why I love The Royale Chulan Damansara

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I thanked the friendly cab driver and was promptly welcomed by the hotel doorman who opened the car door for me. Two more doormen greeted me as I entered the The Royale Chulan Damansara (then Royale Bintang Damansara) for the first time. After returning the warmth and courtesy with smiles and ‘thank you’s’ I finally had the chance to take in my surroundings – and I was taken aback.

I had gone to the Klang Valley looking forward to attending a workshop cum brainstorming session on creating flexible work environments – and while I had expected a decent, upmarket venue I wasn’t prepared for the grandness that greeted me at the hotel.

A white and cream colour scheme with occasional strokes of navy blue worked with the lobby’s high ceiling and generous space to result in a setting that was awe inspiring and yet welcoming. The term ‘cheerful cathedral’ came to mind.

And like a royalty who was clearly in a class of their own but would still welcome you to tea anytime, the Royale Chulan Damansara lived up to its name and made anyone stepping into its understated grandeur feel…good.

So when I had to travel to the Klang Valley again this year for a dear friend’s wedding, I happily decided to stay at this beautiful hotel.

20140530-212426.jpgTired after a long day marked by a flight delay and traffic jams, walking into my white and cream colored room was a delightful relief. In the warm yellow lighting, the neutral tones and plush carpet made the entire space so warm and inviting that despite the size of the room it felt like a cocoon. I felt pampered!

20140530-212904.jpgFrom the luxurious bathroom and plush bed and pillows, to the armchair with foot rest by the window and extra touches like the fruit platter in the room, The Royale Chulan Damansara was everything one would expect of a 5-star establishment.

20140530-212614.jpgBreakfast was also a delight – standard hotel buffet fare, but generous in terms of spread and quality. The cafe was bright and airy and I had coffee served to me just because the manager noticed I was looking for it. Royal indeed!

This was definitely one of the best hotel stays I have experienced – because all that was described above was the perfect setting in which the truly meaningful took place. Having the luxurious cocoon to return to after attending Celine’s wedding, during which I had a chance to catch up with Phay Phay and see her children, and then meeting up with Monica for coffee and coming back to the hotel room with her to chat somemore! And on my last day, Sarah dropped by to join me for the buffet breakfast and our usual long chat, then we both went up to my room to nap before I checked out.

It was the simple pleasure of spending time with the important people in my life, and having the luxury to enjoy their company in elegant surroundings makes the experience even more memorable. Perhaps the next time we could plan a backpacking trip together to some remote places in the world for a different kind of bonding experience!

Space. I love mine.

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Idyllic neighbourhood in Tanjung Bunga, Penang

Space – it’s a beautiful thing. With space, we grow. We breathe, and dream, and create. We try and tinker, do and dabble, build, tear down, and rebuild. We stretch, we run, we dance. We imagine, we tweak, we weep, sweep everything away and start over. Or we walk away to just be. Then we return, and the possibilities engulf us all over again. We celebrate, and then we recreate. Within fluid boundaries, we find both freedom and belonging. So I choose space over system, and out of the box, is where I find my Rock.