Sunday, 16 October 2011

Paris Je t'aime

It's final - I'll be going to France for 2 weeks in November/December. Need to shout it out to the world because getting 2 weeks off seemed almost impossible with the responsibilities I shoulder.

I also consider it an accomplishment to book the return AirAsia X tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Paris-Orly for RM 1,697.40 (includes tax, booking fee, luggage and Skybus). My boss said with prices like that I can go to Paris 3 times a year.

Haven't made any plans yet for the Paris leg but it should include Mona Lisa, Rodin, Eiffel, Orsay and Pompidou amongst others.

 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Chateau at Berjaya Hills

After visiting the Kraks de Chevalier in Syria last year, I had the privilege of spending a night at another 'castle' closer to home - The Chateau at Berjaya Hills.

The Chateau is modeled after 18th Century medievel Haut Koenigsbourg castle in Alsace, France.

Here's Haut Koenigsbourg in Alsace, France:


And here's The Chateau in Berjaya Hills:


Similar?

Apparently former Malaysian prime minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad travelled to Alsace in France, fell in love with Haut Koenigsbourg, and suggested to Berjaya Corporation Chairman & CEO, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan to build a castle like that in Malaysia. The rest ... as they say ... is history.

My trip started at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel & Convention Centre where I took the Shuttle Bus to The Chateau. It's the best option if you don't have your own transport or you're afraid you can't find your way along the meandering road that leads to The Chateau.

Return shuttle bus services from Berjaya Times Square Hotel to The Chateau are available daily. Click here for shuttle times, tickets and reservation. The journey takes between 45 minutes to an hour.


 
Tickets must be booked 3 days in advance and can be paid via online transfer or credit card authorisation form. What sucks is that you'd need to collect the tickets from Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall during working hours. And it's a problem if you're a busy person like me who can hardly find time to go collect tickets.

It would be good if Columbia Asia that operates the shuttle bus service give passengers the option of printing out their tickets like what budget airlines do.

********

"Bonjour" was the greeting I received at Reception when I checked-in. After that, the staff refered to me as "Mademoiselle Julie". They use French phrases to complete the French chateau experience. So I also used words like "Merci" and "Sil vous plait" - want to show off my French skills after attending lessons at the YMCA :-)

After checking in, I started checking out the room and the bathroom was the first place I stepped into:

Green tiles - probably because The Chateau is the world's first organic wellness destination spa resort. So the green has to reflect it.


I thought it's a nice touch to brand the toilet rolls. So sayang to blemish the roll that I left it in its pristine condition and used the tissue on the table instead, hahaha.


The Chateau uses VOYA products in its rooms and spa. VOYA products are made from hand harvested organic seaweed from the Atlantic coast of Ireland, produced especially to clean and nourish the skin. Reminds me of California Rolls that are wrapped in seaweed :-)


In line with the philosophy of The Chateau, i.e. "We have a Heart for Our Planet", all guest amenities are made from 100% biodegradable cornstarch material, just like this shoe thingy (can't remember the name) which is made of cornstach. I couldn't believe it myself when Jose the Front Office Manager told me that.


I bet this pen is made of recycled fiber, cause I've seen one like that in Doubletree KL.


Love this booklet because of the sketched picture of The Chateau.


If this telephone could grant me anything, I'd ask for a hunky chevalier to sweep me off my feet. And then my experience at The Chateau would have been complete ;-)


And of course I had to drag myself out of bed the next morning because of the ultra comfy bedlinen which are made of 100% organic cotton by Coyuchi.

 

On the second day before taking the 3.00pm shuttle bus back to KL, I headed to La Sante Organic Wellness Spa for my appointment. 

Reception area at La Sante

 

La Sante is an integral part of The Chateau that offers an illusive experience of an European inspired state-of-the-art organic spa. Check out this herbal bath that looks like the hammam I experienced in Damascus: 

First time I'm seeing a herbal bath like this in a Malaysian spa. Image source.


La Sante offers personalised therapies like body pampering, beauty, stress relief, fitness, weight loss and body cleansing. Selected treatments are available for men. There are also special spa packages that lasts from 2 nights up till 7 nights and includes accommodation, meals and treatments.

I opted for the Organic Sea Salt Glow and Stress Relief Massage that left my skin feeling like it has lost a layer of dirt and stress completely drained away.

My masseuse Mary Chu is so good with her fingers and hands that I fell asleep during the massage. I dread thinking that all that pampering's gonna go to waste when I get back to chaotic KL.


The spa also has a gym with full facilites. I had 2 rounds of workout here to lose the 8-course French dinner I had at La Rissette. Foie gras is damn fattening, you know ...


Just before hopping onto the shuttle bus back to KL, I managed to snap a photo of the Orchid Garden in all its orchid glory. I think it would make a good location for wedding photos.


The Orchid Garden has 3 batches of orchids that are rotated every 3 or 4 months and costs RM40,000 per rotation. Whilst one batch is on display, the other 2 batches are kept at the nursury for some TLC. 


 
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