If you are looking for a stay-cation hotel in Miri at a wallet-friendly price, then this hotel may just be perfect for you. The Imperial Palace Hotel certainly wow-ed us during our brief stay here a couple of weeks ago.

Through Agoda.com, I managed to secure a standard king room at RM175 nett, which is inclusive of breakfast for 2 adults. Being 2km away from Bintang Mall, it is close enough to shopping area minus the headache of looking for parking space. By the way, parking is complimentary for stay-in guests.

The king-sized bed

The bed from another angle

The entrance / walkway

The mini fridge

The tea-making facilities
Safe box

Toiletries come in standard packaging

The bathroom comes with a bathtub

The hotel pays attention-to-details when you see a bath mat folded into a ribbon such as in the photo below:

Marble floor in the bathroom

The view of the room from one angle

Since it was a stay-cation trip, we decided to try out their jacuzzi-styled swimming pool. The kids loved it, and I did too, to a certain extent. I thought the pool needs cleaning because there bottom felt slimy and there were dead insects in the pool. Sorry, no photo of the swimming pool since we did not bring our phone down.

The view of the hotel corridor

Lastly, we loved the buffet breakfast at Menawan Restaurant. They have quite a selection suited for the adults and kids. Their nasi lemak is served with generous selection of dishes and their rice congee is really delicious. We ended up over-stuffing ourselves, LOL!

Overall, I recommend this hotel for both single or family travellers looking for value-for-money hotel :)

Rating: 8/10
Coming down from Kundasang, we decided to spend the rest of the day shopping at 1Borneo Mall before going back the next day. This time, I chose Booking.com to book the Grand Borneo Hotel which is adjacent to the shopping mall. 

We booked a Gallery Twin Room for RM140++, which is appointed with twin beds as the name implies. It was quite affordable considering its location and the fact that it was a new hotel with modern decor and facilities.

I am impressed with the modern contemporary black and white hotel design despite its really tiny and fully maximised space. It is certainly a good value for money as guests are mostly people looking for a place to crash after a busy day shopping at the mall next door.

My only fault with the hotel is their limited parking. However, being next to a mall means that guests can also park at the mall's parking. Still, the hotel's reception is fast and friendly, and the room comes with free WiFi, which is increasingly becoming an essential service in a hotel.

The room comes with two single beds

Modern wallpaper encased the flat plasma TV

The beds from another angle

The work desk

Tea-making facilities complete with complimentary instant beverages

Classic black-and-white bathroom

Shower area

Sink area

The really basic toiletries provided

I think the hotel hits the right target i.e. shoppers who are here for the shopping and really not so much for the hotel stay. Despite that, they still ensure that their services are excellent and the rooms satisfactory. Really worth the money spent.

Rating: 8/10
We went to Kundasang, Sabah last March for a mini vacation and it was really a last-minute arrangement. Thanks to Agoda.com, we were able to book a room at Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa. There are two types of accommodation at this hotel - a chalet and a regular hotel room. We booked a family suite room at RM370++ per night. The room could easily accommodate 3 adults and 2 kids. It has one bedroom and one living room with sofa bed, two TVs, a small fridge and a bathroom with a bathtub.

The journey from the airport to Kundasang took about 2 hours more or less. Luckily our kids fell asleep during the ride and only woke up when we reached there. The hotel's direction was quite unclear and we ended up lost and had to U-turn before we finally found the route to this hotel. It was situated on top of a small hill. From the roundabout, take the third exit (3 o'clock direction) and proceeded to drive up a winding route before reaching the hotel.

Photo courtesy of: Agoda.com

We reached the hotel at 12pm and were told that check-in is only at 2pm (due to school holiday season). The staff at the reception counter was not very friendly and only replied to our queries in a curt manner with hardly a smile.  

Anyway, luckily the hotel room made up for the lack of hospitality. Although the hotel's name implied a resort-like experience, I certainly do not recommend this hotel if you are seeking for a stay-cation. The spa was even closed on Sunday (seriously, and they call themselves a resort & spa hotel??) much to my disappointment. This hotel is great if you are only looking for a comfortable sleeping place.

View of the bedroom

The living room comes with sofa bed and a TV

The room does not have an aircond as the weather outside gave natural air-conditioning temperature. It was similar to being in Cameron Highland except that in Cameron Highland, you still get night activities where else in Kundasang, by night-time all the shops were close and it was really dark outside!

The work desk and a small fridge

As usual, my two kids were super excited to stumble upon a bath tub, and wanted to take a bath immediately. We soon discovered that the little rubber sealant was missing. I then decided to use one of the hotel glass to create a sort of vacuum to cover the hole to stop the water from draining. So all was well again.

Bathtub with hand-held shower

The next day we woke up early and was rewarded by the clear view of Mount Kinabalu peak. It was really breath-taking.

The view of Mount Kinabalu peak from our room

Overall, the hotel does not fall into the category of a resort hotel judging by the level of service they offered. To me, it is just an average 3-star hotel with really good potential except that the management needs to look into upgrading their services, refurbishing their room and perhaps, hospitality training for their front-desk staff. 

Rating: 5/10
While en-route to my hometown via Kuching, I took the opportunity to try Four Points by Sheraton.

Located just 5 minutes away from the airport, I could understand why it was a favourite place to stay amongst business travellers.

From the outside I was impressed by the modern exterior of the hotel. Considering that few hotels in Sarawak are modern enough or refurbished to adopt the modern decor, I quite liked Four Points for its modern contemporary design. There is no musty odour of old carpet, or lumpy mattresses that haven't been changed for a decade.

View of the room from the entrance

Warm wood colors dominate the room, while yellow lighting creates relaxing ambience to soothe business travelers after a long day at work.

The room is appointed with a queen-sized bed

Modern contemporary design rules while still maintaining the full functionality of the hotel room

The TV cabinet also accommodates a minibar and tea-making facility

Four Points by Sheraton Kuching declares itself as a non-smoking hotel

I am impressed by the non-smoking stance taken by the hotel in their efforts to promote eco friendly practices. 

Lipton tea and Nescafe 3-in-1 for caffeine addicts who enjoy a cuppa first thing in the morning

Marble tiles at the entrance

From another angle of the room
Green frosted glass that separates the bedroom and the bathroom keeps one's privacy while also adhering to the open concept which is becoming more common in modern hotel design.

Simple yet modern bathroom design

Love the colorful packaging of the toiletries

The bathtub sadly is missing one handle despite the hotel being relatively new compared to others

From another angle

The shower cubicle with ceiling mount rain showerhead and hand-held shower

In the wardrobe
Sadly, the hotel service is rather woeful. From the moment I arrived to the minute when I left, the service was such a letdown that I doubted if I should stay here again.

My arrival was greeted by a tired and aloof reception staff who was not interested to find out why the hotel is still charging service charge despite the recent announcement by the Government instructing all hotel and restaurant establishments to cease service charge.

Upon reaching my room, I discovered that the housekeeping staff had forgotten to replenish shower cap and dental kits. So I rang them to request for those items to be brought up. I did not even finish my sentence before the staff hung up on me leaving me fuming on the other end. Around 15 minutes later, a staff knocked on my door and delivered only the dental kits. I was exhausted since it was quite late so I decided not to make a fuss out of it.

Similarly, when I called for room service as I was feeling peck-ish, my calls went unanswered. A staff eventually returned my call but the way he entertained the call made me wonder whether he had ever attended customer service training.

Lastly, I was stressed out during check-out because the staff took ages trying to swipe my credit card despite knowing that I was rushing to catch a connecting flight to my hometown.

There was no sense of urgency or apology offered knowing that I was distressed and kept looking at my watch. Finally after I asked her if it was absolutely necessary for the transaction to go through, she finally asked me to sign an offline version for billing later on. 

It was quite a shame to see such a fine establishment but lacking of trained customer service.

Overall, I may consider to stay here again during family trip (just because the room itself is modern and nicer compared to other older hotels) but staying here as a business traveler may not be the experience I wish to have.

Rating: 6/10