Thursday, January 14, 2010

Selamat Datang from Penang!

Last November hubby and I were lucky enough to jet off to Penang for a few days of R&R. Those of you familiar with my blog know that we're newlyweds and we really didn't get that honeymoon (it's coming US & Paris) so to get away for a few days was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I've never visited Malaysia let alone Penang so really didn't know what to expect and apart from Singapore (which is very Westernised), the whole Asian thing was very new to me. Taking off at 5am in the morning on an Air Asia X flight (again I've never done the whole discounted airline so I was interested to see what it was all about) I felt reassured (I hate, hate, hate flying) after the big boss came over and had a chat to me!!

So how was the flight - PERFECT! There was not a thing wrong with it at all. I managed to pack some Entourage DVD's and watched Season 5 all the way there and we were also given food and drink so the time went by quite quickly.

Landing in Kuala Lumpar on the other hand was quite an experience and getting on a coach to Penang, well, that took it to a whole other level. I thought it would be a great idea (me & my great ideas) to travel to Penang by coach to see the "country side" but by the 3rd hour I was ready to kill someone! Don't get me wrong there was nothing wrong with it & had we done an over-nighter in KL the coach ride may have been pleasant but after 5hrs on a plane and another 5hrs on a coach and then an hour to our hotel (yes it was almost 12hrs of travelling time) we were over it before it even began. Even hubby who is Mr Cool, Calm and Collective started snapping at every opportunity!!

When we arrived at the hotel all I could remember was my cousin Grace's words "You're going to love it - think of it as a tropical oasis of pampering and shopping" and I immediately felt a sense of calm.

The Hard Rock Hotel opened late September on the famous Batu Ferringhis beach strip. The official opening actually happens next month and if I could recommend anywhere in Penang it would definitely be here. You see a lot of the hotels in Penang have been around for years and are quite dated with most needing a refurb. The Hard Rock on the other hand is immaculate (being new of course obviously helps), the staff ever so helpful and the food delicious. You can do whatever you want there from watersports, relaxing, eating, drinking, pampering, visit their museum and even shopping has been taken care of. Whatever you want is right at your fingertips and if need be you don't have to leave the hotel at all.

But in saying that, here are some of the things we got up to on our romantic getaway:

Relaxing by the pool, reading my fave Aussie mags!

Relaxing some more - getting a parafin pedicure on the beach - bliss

Shopping at Gurney Plaza, where I picked up a Charles & Keith bag & Gucci sunnies for AUD$140

Walking down the main strip of restaurants and night markets.

The night markets strip, dead by day pumping by night!

The Hard Rock Hotel's Pizzeria on the beach - so yummy!!

The Eden Seafood Restauran which has to be seen to be believed

Lobster ready to eat!

My $104 lobster straight out of the fish-tank!

Bon Apetito!
So would I go back? Yes, in a heartbeat but probably not in November as it's a little too hot and very stormy which doesn't allow you to venture out and do much. All in all though it was exactly what we needed and what we'd hoped for "A tropical oasis perfect for relaxing, shopping and enjoying each other's company - without any interruptions."
Have you been to Penang? What did you think of it & would you recommend it to anyone else - I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)
Disclaimer: Belinda travelled to Penang with the help of Tourism Malaysia, Air Asia X and the Hard Rock Hotel, Penang.

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