Aug 5, 2012

Kota Kinabalu Travelogue : The Amazing Le Meridien (Day 2 - 18 May 2012)

The boss of City Park Lodge was kind enough to extend our check out time to 2pm after knowing we would be switching to Le Meridien hotel in the afternoon. We have got to stay in the room chilling and doing more research as I slowly packed and grabbed a short nap before we made our way to Le Meridien, Kota Kinabalu. 1.1km did not sound much of a taxing walk initially but every inch I made on the tar road made me felt like dying in my own pool of sweat as I was carrying more than 20kg of luggages while maneuvering against the traffic.

Being greeted with soothing lemongrass aroma and blasting cool air, I was alive once again the moment we stepped into Le Meridien. There was a short queue of two or three person in front of us and I was rather annoyed by the fact that Le Meridien's front house was being slow in having guests check in and also helping us with our luggages. When it was our turn, again, it was another 10 minutes of wait for the processing of our bookings. To make things worse, I was nearly died of thirst and there wasn't any welcome drink (just tap water also works fine for me) as I waited impatiently for the front house to get things done. Moreover, being a Starwood Privilege ("SPG") member, I was expecting some special treatments, at the very least, an special check in counter that can facilitate speedier check in.


Deluxe Sea View Room 

Albeit the disappointment with Le Meridien's front house, my heart was lifted once again when I stepped into the deluxe sea view room that we were going to stay for TWO (2) NIGHTS! Practically we paid 50% of the off rack rates and it summed up to about RM750 with one of the complimentary vouchers for SPG members. No breakfast was included and minimum two (2) nights stay was the stated condition. It was the call of my tanner half to indulge a little, considering that we would be spending a week in Kota Kinabalu. Brilliant call, I must say!


The Duo Reflection

Apart from the spacious room that we could literally dance and whirl around, the smell of fresh linen,   the rejoice of our feet against the soft carpet, and the nice scent in the room were poising stark contrast against City Park Lodge, which was comparatively constricted and smelt of dust. We spent 15 minutes or so checking out what we had and photographing the awesome room we were going to stay in before we settled down on the comfortable and inviting white fresh linen and enjoyed the view from our bed.


Sea View, Tell You So!

We couldn't be more glad about our decision to get a sea view room. The slight premium charged was worth every penny we spent and I couldn't imagine how unimpressive could a garden view room be! The crystal blue sky against the puffy white clouds, the fishermen boats (which were steering away to some unknown places) against the tranquil sea, and the bustling fish market near the pier were something we hardly see every day and here we were, watching over the horizon at ease from our cozy hotel room.


 The Toiletries

On the right of the our room entrance was our huge bathroom, which takes up about a quarter of the whole room. The icy cold marble set up, against a wide mirror facing the corridor and the glass up shower partition against the bath tub were exactly what we would have wished for. The complete set of  toiletries was great addition to those who travel light and we had one set for each :)


Sunset 

Time fled as we casually enjoyed lying down on bed, chilling while watching some random channels on the wide television screen and it was soon the time for the sun to pronounce the end of the day. Both of us grabbed phone and camera and camped at the window to witness and capture the magical moment from almost same level with the horizon. I could feel the warmth on my skin as the sun shared its love for the world generously.


The Colorful Horizon

Even when it was gone, what was left behind was this beautiful moving canvas that kept changing as every second ticked. Awed we were, even when we were behind the frame capturing the best picture to do justice of the beautiful canvas. We waited until the sky turned dark and our tummies growled before we made our way to Flames, the  considerably new steak house in Kota Kinabalu. As I recalled, we did make reservation few hours in advance but when we reached Flames, we were told that the restaurant was fully booked. Hence we were left with no choice but to be seated at the lounge. I supposed they should inform us earlier, what if we were planning to celebrate an occasion?


The Bread with Vinaigrette Oil, Butter and Tuna  

As expected, we were served with warm bread loaf with three different spreads as a welcome gesture or appetizer. Compared to the bread served in Favola, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, this was nothing fantastic. Out of the three spreads, what I liked most was the butter spread which casually delivered extra dose of surprise; followed by the tuna spread which was much tender and moistened than I thought so. We waited for quite a long while before our appetiser was served and before we noticed, the whole loaf of bread was gone!


Fish Head Consomme with Prawn Tortellini and Chinese Watercress [RM20]

Our expectation was precedented by the awesome double boiled chicken consomm√© we had in Mulberry (formerly known as Speakeasy). The amount of time and effort spent on this clear broth and almost oil-less soup, namely consomm√©, is something worth paying for. However a little disappointed we were, looking at the horrifying oil "layer". The color resembled the one we had in Mulberry. Flavor wise, the intensity seemed lacking, so was the approach. The prawn tortellini came in rather pitiful amount and if I remember well, the other two pieces were fish fillet. Fresh, crunching, and mildly flavored, the prawn tortellini was decent but the skin was slightly thick to my liking. The use of watercress was aptly. Not only the hearty aroma, it balanced the soup with its humbleness in flavor and contrast in texture.


Seared Portobello Mushrooms [RM15]

The way Flames serves their steak is similar to Prime, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, i.e. no side dish is complimentary. Therefore, you are strongly advised to order side dishes which could go well with the steak. When my tanner half looked at the side dishes menu, he straight away saw what he wanted. The portobello he wanted came in two medium pieces. Seared and topped with some unknown sauce, it smelled and tasted a little smoky. Juicy, flavorful and chewy, there was almost nothing I could have complained about the portobello apart from its size.


Garlic Mashed Potatoes [RM10]

To tone things down a little, mash potatoes would always be the ideal candidate. Since they did not serve truffle scented mash potatoes, we resorted to the next best alternative, i.e. garlic mashed potatoes. Judging by the outlook, this mash potatoes was definitely not an easy going fella but one with a little character. Though garlic is something common to me, the taste of garlic mash was lovely and the touch of parsley was aptly.


220g Medium Rare Black Angus Ribeye with Caramel Balsamic Shallot Juice [RM108]

Here came the highlight of the night. As I am known to be a small eater when it comes to steak, my tanner half told me, "let's share a steak and try out their consommé". Medium rare was just the perfect level for both of us as it is neither too raw, nor too cooked. My fork testified its bounciness but it wasn't too hard to nail the beef down. My knife did not need to force its way to cut through the strands of fat and look, I had a nice pinkish beef cube! No doubt, this ribeye had the capability to stand out on its own but caramel balsamic shallot juice ignited the inner character in it with its subtlety but variety in flavor. Both of us were two satisfied men at the end of the night.

As a SPG member, supposedly my tanner half is entitled to 50% discount for dining in two. However, we were informed otherwise. Manager came to reaffirm our understanding that we were only entitled to 20%. We obliged, considering the rationale that it was a newly opened steak house which they did have their special rule. Few months later, it turned out that we were right, i.e. 50% discount is applicable across all SPG hotels' restaurants. All money was refunded and practically we ate good stuff for free!


Some We-Time

After four (4) hours of lazing around in our spacious room before dinner, we decided to take a stroll around the hotel after dinner. We went across the road to the flee market to check out what is the buzz about. Almost every stall sells seafood but we did not try any as both of us are not a big fan of seafood, in general. It did not take us too long before we decided to head back to hotel as it was humid outdoor due to the proximity to sea. We continued to laze until we were tired and dozed off.


Yours Sincerely

I wished it was that easy for me. Around 10pm, my tummy was hollow and I thought, "I must be hungry". I refused to address that "hunger" until the nausea started to kick in and doomed I was, I puked several times till midnight. I suspected it was the free chocolate dipped strawberries dessert the manager gave it to us over the dinner. It did not matter as sunny beach and bikini girl would be the theme for the next day.

Till then, another blog post would ensue.

9 comments:

  1. wow, sea-view room, amazing ^^!!!~

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    Replies
    1. I wished I can stay longer too!

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  2. sea-view is awesome, but KK is a bit boring for me if not going out for islands or up to mount KK. would love to try the steak though, will consider to stay there for next business visit if possible. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually did all the above! I went for water rafting, island hopping and climbing up Mount Kinabalu :D Would love to go there again for via ferrata and diving perhaps!

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  3. Wow..the view from your room is amazing! The colourful horizon is gorgeous! Rarely see such a scene :D

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    Replies
    1. Hey Chuen, you are so right about it! If I remembered correctly, our room was located at the 10th floor. We could just wait for sunset in our air conditioned room. What a bliss!

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  4. HiTomi,

    Wonderful travel story, you took your readers right along with you!There is something unique and rest inducing about water facing rooms.

    Consider trying a cruise someday, even better!

    The last photo of you is almost in some aspects a childlike view you, it evokes the complexity of the young women you have now become, yet reminds one there is a little girl inside you still!

    Safe travels!

    David

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree on the magical power that water facing rooms :)

      Thanks for your compliment and you too, travel safe!

      Delete
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