Living in a suitcase

My recent trip to Malaysia entailed traversing Kuala Lumpur and numerous towns in Sabah. We never stayed in one place for more than two days. This meant transferring from one hotel to another. In the course of the whole trip, we had good ones and bad ones. Some we chose, some we had to endure. I am not very picky with where I stay as long as it is clean and decent, especially the linens and the bathroom, and has hot water. But of course, I would not say no to luxury either, as long as it is within our budget (why would you scrimp on comfort and cleanliness?). I am not into wide, open spaces since who wants to move around in hotels when you’re on the road anyway? I am usually dead tired so the most I would do it is plop down on the bed, turn on the TV, and search for wifi.

Anyway, here is a rundown of six hotels we stayed in..

Hotel Novotel Kuala Lumpur Center

This is the most expensive hotel we stayed in, although it was home just at the beginning of the trip. It is at this point that I want to say that we had not so young colleagues from other government agencies, and uhm, they wanted to save on their allowances. So we managed to stay in this one good hotel at KL (where it is understandably hard to find cheap hotels) since we were all feeling our way around each other, and they couldn’t complain yet. lol.

Anyway, the price is right for this establishment. I was glad that I was with my female staff since they didn’t have twin rooms available so we had to share the queen, which wasn’t so bad. Our room had the right amount of chicness, and had a view of a shopping center.

Since we were already tired (and it was just day 1!) because we went straight to a meeting with UNICEF Malaysia as soon as we got out of the airport, Beda and I settled for a quiet dinner at the hotel restaurant. I wanted some room service but our phone wasn’t working so we had to fight laziness and come down ourselves to get food. In the end, it saved me some RM 10 hehehe. They served a very decent Malaysian buffet complete with dessert. I forgot to take a picture of our room but here is the restaurant:

It was a shame we didn’t get to try their breakfast since we had to leave again for the airport before 6 am.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

The Courtyard Hotel @ 1Borneo complex

This is located in the OneBorneo complex in Kota Kinabalu, similar to the Philippines’ Greenbelt or Eastwood where you can find high end shopping outlets and hotels in one area. It is a little far from downtown, and one has to make the trip especially to get to it.

The design of our room had an edgy feel to it, however, it was very narrow, which I didn’t mind too much. Beda and I actually had to stop and make way for each other a few times since we would literally not fit the tiny space at the foot of our beds. It was nice nonetheless.

This time, we got to enjoy breakfast, which was served at their terrace overlooking the Mount Kinabalu range. The food was a little so-so but I wasn’t complaining.

Oh, and wifi sucked big time.

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

De Leon Hotel, Lahad Datu

Among all the hotels we stayed in, this was the best, in terms of being eye-candy. I loved the purple feel! Too bad, we stayed the shortest here (about twelve hours or less). But the whole vibe was exciting and cozy at the same time.


The bathroom was a little dark though as the shower area was tiled in black, with rough stone edges.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Marina Hotel, Semporna

Staying the night in Semporna was not part of the itinerary but we had do it or face driving back 2 1/2 hours and back again the next day. Staying at the Marina Hotel was, I would say, decent. It was very spartan, and was a 3-minute to the venue of our activity. It was a no-frill kind of accommodation, but what can you expect from a RM 90 or US$30 room? There were no elevators and I pity the bell boys who had to carry all of our luggage up the stairs. But eatery next door served a great Nasi Goreng Pattaya, which made the stay worthwhile.

* photo from the Internet as I forgot to take a photo here

Overall rating: 3 stars

Shervinton Boutique Hotel, Tawau

This is the best among the ones we stayed in! Our room was great and classy, very very spacious, with a dresser, two comfy chairs, and a large LCD TV. What I found weird lang is, the toilet, which is outside the main bathroom had no door. Yikes! It only had a shower curtain, and it was a good thing Beda and I were a little comfortable with each other. But can you imagine doing no. 2 there? I was afraid the smell will invade the whole room. lol.


But this is my favorite, bathroom design aside.

Overall rating: 4.75 stars. lol

Hotel Imperial, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

I was hoping that the last hotel we would stay in would be a blast as a farewell to Malaysia, truly Asia. I wanted to be near a spa so I could relax and chill. But my hopes were dashed as soon as we stepped back into the city. As I said, some of our companions wanted to scrimp, and so we did. And I was not very happy about it. The experience was both forgettable and unforgettable, it was not even worth taking a picture of. The room was old and dark and dank, as was the bathroom. Big, big sigh! I was even afraid of cockroaches, which to my relief didn’t come to haunt me as I tried to keep my memories of the city alive.

Overall rating: 1 star

Thank you Malaysia!

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