Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Praying for MH370

The past couple of weeks have been harrowing to Malaysians. We not only lost a plane; on that plane, someone lost a parent, a child, a sister, a brother, a grandparent, a grandchild, a loved one, a friend, an associate, a colleague, a crew and the list goes on. As days trickle on to weeks, the situation became more and more difficult as Malaysia came under siege by criticisms from various individuals and media.

Despite this unfortunate event surrounding our country and our national carrier, given the opportunity, I would still travel with Malaysia Airlines. 

I initially did not want to write on this issue, there's been numerous blogs, write-ups, tweets, even spoofs on the matter. My blog is just one out of the millions out there who are writing on MH370. I guess this is how people vent out and try to make themselves heard, by putting thoughts and feelings on the net.

Last night, our Prime Minister announced that there is much certainty that the plane deviated to the southern corridor and the last indication given by Inmarsat is that the flight's last location is at the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Could it be true that the debris from the satellite photos be of MH370? Until it is found, we could not be sure. In fact, until any evidence is found, we can never be sure of what happened to MH370.

So, why write? I would have to say that I feel compelled to thank those out there who are involved in helping the search for MH370. You deserve better recognition and thanks by us, the people who are reading the news, the people who are waiting anxiously in front of the telly for the current press conference, the people who are hungrily scrounging the net for any piece of news that we can find of on the missing plane. And yet, there you are, under siege by the media, irresponsible individuals and parties who are keen to find fault at every single thing that was done and announced. 

So here's me saying thank you for all that you've done on this mission to find the missing plane. I know it must've have been difficult, finding clues, identifying and searching every single piece of evidence that you could get your hands on (yes, that includes all the various police reports that eyewitnesses say they have seen, including those that seems incredibly ludicrous), checking and rechecking your data to make sure you have not missed anything, making sure with all means possible that the information that you are about to announce is certain to be true, facing ruthless reporters and journalists who seem to be hungry to pinpoint the blame on anyone or everyone, answering various questions and allegations on the missing plane. To the search and rescue team whether you're behind closed doors analysing and reanalysing data till your eyes blur and your head swim at the various charts, raw data and information that you have to process, and to those who are out there braving the skies, oceans and seas just so that we can get a single glimpse at any evidence that we could get our hands on; those who are working tirelessly day and night from day one, I salute you. I could and never would be able to do what you have been and will be doing until this missing plane is found. 

I find it sad that there are many out there (Malaysians included) are bashing our beloved country due to the way how the investigations are being done. As someone who is not involved in the investigations (I am after all part of those who are glued to the telly waiting rather impatiently on the next update or press conference) I will not act as if I know more that those who are involved in the matter. Despite the name-calling and country-bashing exercises by unscrupulous individuals or organisations (it's definitely a pity how some are taking advantage of this situation so that they can get some 5-minutes of fame), I would have to say that I am definitely proud by how we Malaysians have stuck together despite our different race and religion to pray for the missing plane.

To the families of those who were onboard of the missing plane, I will not pretend to know how painful this must be for you, to be ripped off the ones that you love in a manner that is completely incomprehensible such as this, I will offer the only thing that I am capable of at this time of need, words of prayer and support. And to be honest, until that plane is found (or any evidence indicating that it indeed did crash into the Indian ocean) I and many others who are like me would still be hoping and praying that those who were onboard are returned to their family safe and sound.

To quote a verse from the Quran (6:59):
"And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there with the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record."

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fashionista's Hotel Review: Hotel 1915 Kuala Lumpur

I had another overnight trip to Kuala Lumpur last weekend and this time I booked a room at Hotel 1915, not far from Masjid Jamek LRT station. This time I chose a hotel right smack in the middle of town (since my past few selections involved me traveling quite a bit to where I wanted to go). Initially I was not keen to stay at a hotel in the middle of the hustle and bustle of KL simply because I was unsure of the amount of noise that I'd be subjected to (especially at night when sleep is critical) and of course I was afraid that the environment of the hotel wouldn't be conducive for me to complete my tasks when I'm in KL.
Hotel 1915 is located about 1 minute walk away from the Masjid Jamek LRT station which is definitely very, very convenient.

It markets itself as a boutique hotel, and as boutique hotels go, I definitely love the cool design of the interior.


Corridor leading up to my room.

I opted for the deluxe queen room. Compared to all the hotels I've ever stayed in, this is among the smallest room I've ever seen. Luckily I'm not claustrophobic. If it wasn't for the room (and the lack of space) I would definitely repeat my stay at Hotel 1915.

TV console at the foot of the bed. You can actually see how small the room is from here. There's probably only about one feet of available space between the bed and the wall. There's a couple of sachets of tea and coffee and they've actually provided drinking water stations (for hot and cold water) at every level near the elevator. Jar and glass are provided in the room underneath the TV console.

The toilet/ shower.


And shower.

My review of Hotel 1915 (terribly sorry for the grainy photos in this review, this trip was rather packed so I didn't have the luxury of time to take proper photos):

To be frank, I absolutely love the location of the hotel. It's conveniently located next to a subway station which is definitely a plus point. There's plenty of stalls next to the station for you to do some shopping if you like and food is definitely easy to find when you're in this part of the city. I also liked the fact that despite the hotel's high occupancy rate, the hotel itself is very quiet, there's hardly any noise that I can hear from my room (even though we're so near to the station) and this is definitely another plus point. I like hotels for their location, cleanliness and privacy which I find this hotel fits all the criteria that I look for in a hotel. Unfortunately, the room is super small. It's okay for one person, but for two, it would be terribly cramped. So, if there's more of you, I suggest looking for a bigger room at another hotel. Other than the size issue, this hotel is absolutely perfect!

If you'd like to know more on the hotel, click [here] to visit their website.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fashionista's Hotel Review: O'Boutique Suites

As mentioned in my previous post, my current commitments has given me the opportunity to travel more to the capital of Malaysia (that's Kuala Lumpur for those who are unfamiliar with Malaysia) and in that regard, I have taken this opportunity to try and review as many boutique hotels as my budget can afford or at least until I find one that suites me the best.

This time I have booked myself at O-Boutique Suites which is located in a building called Casa Utama at Bandar Utama. Other than O-Boutique Suites, Casa Utama also houses 39 townhouses and an organic cafe called Organic Recipe (which is currently undergoing renovation). 

The location of this boutique hotel is rather discrete, as it is not visible from the main road. You have to turn into a small road called Lorong Lebuh Bandar Utama and the hotel is located about less than a minute's drive from the turning. 

The hotel lobby. The hotel itself is located at Level B2 which is one floor below the parking lot.  

There's a few areas for guests to lounge and chit chat. As I've mentioned before, I absolutely adore boutique hotels and this one is no different. I find the atmosphere that welcomed me when I checked in to be very informal, warm and inviting.

Sitting area next to the lobby.


The hotel in itself is quite a small hotel as it only occupies one floor, the whole of B2. Since my booking was only a couple of days before I checking in to the hotel, I only had the option of a windowless room =(. However, being a frequent traveller, window or no window is no biggie. 

The room. Unlike the hotel lobby and lounge, the design of the room is quite sparse. The room size is quite small but as a solo traveller, it suit my needs nicely: comfortable bed, some space for me to perform my prayers and free wifi.

The room.

The toilet/ shower.

The room came with complimentary breakfast so I headed down to B3 for breakfast. Unfortunately several parts of this level is currently under renovation therefore I didn't take any photos of the corridor leading to the breakfast area. There is a small area fit for maybe around 30 people having breakfast at one time. I liked the fact that the design is an open concept which provided us with a nice view of the surrounding area of the hotel.

The breakfast is quite simple, consisting of a basic fare of fried noodles, butter, jam and toast, steamed pau, coffee, tea and plain water.

After staying there for a night I would have to say that I absolutely love this boutique hotel! Okay, my plus points are:
1) Privacy. Which is an absolute must when you're a frequent traveler. It helps that the hotel is located in a discrete corner within Bandar Utama, therefore this translates to quiet nights and peace of mind. However, I must say that noise in the corridor reverberates into the room, therefore I'd know whenever there's someone out and about in the corridor.
2) Cleanliness and Comfort. I love how comfortable the bed is and the whole room and toilet is definitely presentable when I checked in.
3) Fast and efficient check-in and check-out service. Which is another must for frequent travellers. It does help that this hotel is only able to cater to a small amount of clientele at any single time, so check-in and check-out is definitely a breeze.
4) Safety. The way in which the building is designed certainly ensured that no intruders can easily slip by unnoticed into the building.

1) Lack of nearby attractions. One Utama is really close but to get anywhere you must get a cab. So, there's absolutely no walking-distance attractions to speak off.
2) Because of how discrete the location of this hotel is, therefore cafes/ restaurants are not in the immediate vicinity either. There is a restaurant called Organic Recipe located at B3 but it was still undergoing renovation when I was there.

So the question is, would I go back to O-Boutique Suites? Yup! Definitely! I love how small their operations are, to me small operators kinda makes the whole service go to a personal level (which I love). The girl at the counter even helped me to book a cab (thank you!). I do like the fact that the hotel is very private and discrete as this enables me to concentrate and do my work in peace. I also talked to the security guy on my way in, I liked the fact that he takes his job very seriously and the best part is, he's very proud in what he does (in making sure that everything and everyone is safe). The only downside is the lack of nearby (walking-distance) attractions/ cafes.

Those who are interested to know more of the hotel can visit their Facebook page [here] or website [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fashionista's Hotel Review: Ibis Styles Kuala Lumpur Fraser Business Park Hotel

Of late I've been traveling and flying to Kuala Lumpur frequently due to certain commitments and I am definitely glad for this opportunity as it enables me to test out and blog the hotels in Kuala Lumpur. And this year being Visit Malaysia Year 2014, I am sure there are plenty of tourists out there who are planning their visits here to Malaysia and good ol' Kuala Lumpur. 

Last week I booked a room at Ibis Styles Kuala Lumpur Fraser Business Park for two reasons, first is because I've stayed at Ibis Styles Yogyakarta before and I absolutely love the hotel (click here for my review of the hotel) so I am definitely sure that the service I'll get at this hotel would be similar to my stay in Yogyakarta and secondly, it's located near Pudu where I assumed that it would be near Pudu Sentral (okay, you might as well know now that this is so not true *sigh*). Anyway, this is my review of the hotel =).

The hotel lobby. I have always adored Ibis Styles decor and interior and this is no different. Although I would have to say that this is it for the hotel lobby, unlike Ibis Styles Yogyakarta which had better decor, an open and bright concept and its cafe on the same floor. For this hotel, the cafe is located on the 4th floor. The lobby is connected to Fraser Business Park (which is the name of the building in which the hotel is located). Despite being located in the same building as a shopping centre (Metro Mall), unfortunately there is not much shopping to be done as the building (Fraser Business Park) appears to be quite empty with minimal shops doing business. It's adjacent to HELP University, but you won't even know that there's a university nearby because the university is at the other end of the building.

My room was located at the 10th floor and this charming 'kek lapis' carpet (labeled by my friend who commented on the bright stripes on the carpet), bamboo art wall deco and sofa greeted me. The view from the hotel is definitely nice =).

My room. I had booked for a queen bed but unfortunately the rooms are full and they gave me a twin-bed bedroom. Love the batik inspired wall-deco. 

As you can see, the room is definitely small (I had to make do with the small space in front of the bed for me to lay my prayer mat and pray *sigh*) but I do love the bright colours and cheery atmosphere of the room. Despite the TV right smack opposite of the bed, there's not much channels to enjoy though. There's about less than 20 channels available and only one movie channel from what I've experienced.

The twin-beds.

Bright green shower stall.

Toilet and sink.

I was surprised that they have a charging dock for iPhone (compatible with iPhone 4 and below). I would have loved this but unfortunately my iPhone is not compatible with this dock.

I actually love the breakfast spread. Unfortunately there was a huge crowd at breakfast so I was unable to get a clear shot of what was being served but the breakfast consisted of assorted cereal, assorted bread, several choices of juice, hot tea and coffee, regular malay breakfast fan fare (i.e. nasi lemak with condiments and porridge also with condiments), fresh fruits and quite a good selection for its western breakfast. Yum!
Unfortunately, the coffee was horrible so I am definitely not recommending the coffee provided at this hotel.

Ibis Styles is part of Accor Hotels, they also have various hotels under their brand Novotel, Mercure, Pullman, Ibis, Ibis Budget etc. Looking at the various hotel brands managed by Accor Hotels, I'm sure that I can look forward to a high standard of service by Ibis Styles. Unfortunately, if given the choice, I would not stay in this hotel again in the future simply because of its location (no it's not located in Pudu despite it's address) and also because of the lack of shops at Fraser Business Park. I guess if Fraser Business Park is a bustling mall, I would be tempted to change my mind on staying at the hotel in the future. But I have absolutely no complaints on Ibis Styles itself. If you don't mind staying a wee bit further that other central locations in KL like Bukit Bintang, KLCC etc, then this hotel is absolutely recommended. In terms of transportation, this hotel is located adjacent to the LRT station Chan Sow Lin which gives you easy access to the city.


xoxo Mrs Fashionista