Com­fort in the hills

This new prop­erty in Gent­ing High­lands brings ho­tel ser­vice and hos­pi­tal­ity to an apart­ment-like set­ting.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel - By CH­ESTER CHIN star2­travel@thes­

THE swim­ming pool at the Best Western Premier Ion Dele­men ho­tel in Gent­ing High­lands is In­sta­gram heaven. A funky space­ship-like ceil­ing and glit­ter­ing wa­ters that ex­tend to a win­dowed edge over­look­ing lush green­ery all spell the mak­ing of a great photo that will gen­er­ate lots of “likes”. Not to worry, there’s com­pli­men­tary WiFi (fast and sta­ble too) in the lobby and rooms to post those pics that will up your hip­ster cred.

And to top things off, the pool is heated. How ex­tra is that?

Well, if any­thing, “ex­tra” might as well be the mid­dle name of this new ho­tel that is lo­cated up in the hills of Pa­hang. The prop­erty com­prises 246 re­sort-in­spired deluxe rooms and one-, two-, and three-bed­room suites.

“It’s the first of its kind here in Gent­ing High­lands. If you want an apart­ment-like ac­com­mo­da­tion with re­sort style hos­pi­tal­ity and ser­vice, this is the place to be,” a friendly ho­tel rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fers, as she takes me on a tour around the prop­erty.

That dis­tinc­tion of be­ing a first-of-it­skind only dawns on me when I check into my one-bed­room suite. Push­ing open the heavy door re­veals a gen­er­ous open plan liv­ing area with a sep­a­rate sleep­ing space.

This hy­brid style that strad­dles re­sort and apart­ment is a be­guil­ing con­cept. After all, Gent­ing High­lands is largely known for of­fer­ing ei­ther themed ho­tels or no-frills apart­ments.

Warm, nat­u­ral hues in the liv­ing area ac­cen­tu­ate the views of rolling hills that can be seen through the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. Fur­nish­ing is kept min­i­mal but very com­fort­able. The suite also comes with a din­ing area that com­fort­ably sits four and a kitch­enette. Granted, the kitchen cab­i­nets are empty, but you have the op­tion of stock­ing up snacks and bev­er­ages from the con­ve­nience re­tail chain store lo­cated just out­side the ho­tel’s lobby.

The stylish bed­room houses a king-size bed dressed in lux­u­ri­ous linens, a gen­er­ously-sized work desk, and a bath­room that fea­tures a rain shower.

There’s also a pri­vate fur­nished bal­cony to take in the stun­ning views of the trop­i­cal rain­for­est. Of course, the cool cli­mate of the high­lands is best en­joyed out­side the con­fines of your room.

Lo­cated at over 1,800m above sea level and spread across pris­tine green­ery, the prop­erty of­fers plenty of ameni­ties to love. There’s an ad­ven­ture course with a fly­ing fox line, 24-hour fit­ness cen­tre, well­ness spa, and meet­ing rooms for those on busi­ness stays.

Above all, the ho­tel’s de­sign de­serves a spe­cial men­tion. Over at the thought­fully land­scaped sky gar­den, wa­ter fea­tures cas­cade to cre­ate a peace­ful am­biance. I’m later told that feng shui el­e­ments have ac­tu­ally been in­cor­po­rated into the ho­tel’s de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

The prop­erty’s de­sign fea­tures, in­clud­ing the colour schemes for each area within the build­ing, drew in­spi­ra­tion from the five nat­u­ral el­e­ments: wa­ter, earth, wood, metal, and fire.

It’s a pity that the Chi­nese philo­soph­i­cal sys­tem doesn’t trans­late to bet­ter luck when it comes to nav­i­gat­ing the ho­tel’s rather com­plex lay­out. Look­ing for my room the first time was tricky, thanks largely to a num­ber­ing sys­tem that doesn’t fol­low the con­ven­tion of match­ing a room’s first num­ber to the floor its on.

Dur­ing my visit in late April, con­struc­tion work can be seen tak­ing place at some wings of the prop­erty. But I have been as­sured that works will com­plete next year.

On an­other note, you re­ally don’t have to ven­ture far for some en­ter­tain­ment and sight­see­ing dur­ing your stay here. The ho­tel is just a stone’s throw from Sky Av­enue Mall, casi­nos and the up­com­ing world’s first 20th Cen­tury Fox World theme park. Com­pli­men­tary shut­tle ser­vice is pro­vided from the prop­erty to First World Ho­tel, which is about 10 min­utes away.

There is an abun­dance of eater­ies at the en­ter­tain­ment hub. But if you pre­fer to un­wind at the ho­tel in­stead, Kem­bali Kitchen of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of items for buf­fet break­fast, lunch, and din­ner. Mean­while, Hugo’s In The Sky serves Mediter­ranean food in a more in­ti­mate set­ting.

I opted for the Kem­bali Home­made Burger dur­ing one of my meals at Kem­bali Kitchen. The well-sea­soned burger is just the right meal to have be­fore an­other swim in the ho­tel’s gor­geous pool. There are, of course, many more items on the menu, in­clud­ing steam­boat for din­ner on those cool evenings in the high­lands.

With its funky ceil­ing and wide views of the high­lands, the swim­ming pool is def­i­nitely one of the prop­erty’s high­lights. — Pho­tos: Best Western Premier Ion Dele­men

The stylish bed­room in the one-bed­room suite of­fers a king size bed dressed in luxe linens.

The one-bed­room suite the writer stayed in of­fers am­ple space in the liv­ing area.

Kem­bali Kitchen, the ho­tel’s all-day din­ing res­tau­rant cel­e­brates lo­cal favourites and in­ter­na­tional flavours in a mod­ern set­ting.

What a view to wake up to! — CH­ESTER CHIN/The Star

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