Sunday, April 29, 2012

Holiday Inn & An-Nur Ancasa Express



Holiday Inn Resort – Batu Ferringhi

I spent 2 consecutive weekends in Penang. 1st weekend for business while the 2nd weekend was actually for personal holidays. Of course, the type of accommodation were different as one is on company’s expense while the other was out of my own pocket. For the company’s meeting, we stayed in Holiday Villa Reosrt at Batu Ferringhi while for the family holiday, I rented An-Nur Ancasa Suite in Georgetown.

Situated in the Batu Ferringhi stretch where many hotels and resorts are situated, Holiday Inn Resort is separated into 2 wings – hotel and resort wing. The main hotel is situated nearer to the beach and have an unobstructed view of the blue sea while the inner wing is linked to the main by an overhead bridge (that incidentally reminds me of SJMC Hospital). Service is at par with international level where the staffs greet you warmly as you stepped into the resort. As I stepped into the hotel, it was in the middle of some minor renovation, hence you see hoarding boards here and there. I checked into the 5th floor. The door to my room was nothing fancy or high tech. It uses the magnetic card which you would expect to find in most hotels nowadays. Once inside, I was totally taken aback by the beds. I simply love the beds.The wall painting that extends from the back of the headboard is so lovely! Each bed comes with 2 pillow; one indicated as soft pillow, and also another pillow for you to hug. I kept the curtain drawn as it was about 6pm when I checked into the room and the evening sun was shining brightly into my room. Furthermore, my room is facing the main Batu Ferringhi road which is lined by trees at the sidewalk, denying me a clear view of the sea. The room also comes with a 40'” Samsung LCD TV which I hardly utilise since I was watching movies from PPTV out of my smartphone.


Collage of the Hotel Room

The room also come with a safe box suitable for putting your passports or small jewellery overnight or if you’re out sight-seeing. The bathroom comes with a bathtub, a WC and an enclosed full glass shower area. I do have a complain about the shower area though. The glass door must have been strained by the heavy full glass that you’re not able to close the shower door properly.

Marble Bathroom

Guest of Holiday Inn Villa also have access to a coffeehouse, a minibar and a pool all facing the beach. It’s very relaxing dining, facing the deep blue sea and taking in the breezy wind while enjoying the serenity of the sunset. Though it was a business trip with meeting the following day, the calmness that surrounds me relaxed my anxiety over the presentation I had to make the following day during the meeting. Even though tremors just hit Penang a few days before; resulting from the earthquake near Sumatra, it did not send any jittery or worries for me when I was stepping onto the fine sandy beaches of Batu Ferringhi. There were also some beach activities that one can enjoy at the beach. As it was not a private beach, a few entrepreneurs were running beach sports such as parachuting, banana boat ride etc. It was the relaxing feel that Holiday Inn Resort gave me that made me brought my family back the following week to this resort.


Serenity in the midst of the deep blue sea

As mentioned, the following week to Penang was purely for family holidays. This time around I stayed at An-Nur Ancasa Express suite. It was situated in Georgetown area and near the Masjid Kapitan Keling. At first I was worried that I would end up waking early every morning with the mosque blaring its prayers as early as 6am daily. However, I slept through the night and didn’t hear a thing. An-Nur Ancasa looks like a school which was renovated and converted to a family suite. Each unit comes with 3 rooms and 5 beds. Only the master bedroom has an aircon while the other 2 rooms come with wall fan. The living area is very cosy with warm lighting and a wooden day bed. The kitchen comes with a marble top and a single door fridge. I thought there would be kettle for boiling water but none was at sight. It was after I ran through the brochure that I got to know that you can rent a kettle for RM5. As Penang is known for a food haven, I guess the Management do not expect its guests to do any cooking except for instant noodles perhaps.


Collage of An-Nur Ancasa Express

However, there were some complaints though. While it was convenient to have a different room for a WC and a shower area, it lacked hooks for hanging your colthings while you’re in either room! The shower room only came with a miserable hook. If you’re bringing a set of fresh clothings into the shower, you’ll be having problem with finding space to hang your clothes and towel. We also had problem with ants. Food left in the kitchen or the living room were invaded by ants overnight. After I had complained to the Management, the Receptionist admitted that they do have an issue with ants.

Despite the minor setbacks, An-Nur Ancasa is well-located. It is within walking distance to the UNESCO heritage area featuring the Khoo Kongsi, Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s meeting area and a few old temples.There is also a famous nasi kandar shop at a stone throw distance from the suite. The nasi kandar is an Indian Muslim mixed rice flavoured with herbs and spices. The restaurant was featured in cable food channel for its popularity amongst the locals. This restaurant only opens from 10pm at night daily and has been in business since 1942! Before 10pm every night, you will see a long queue outside the restaurant with hungry and patient patrons lining up to savour the famous nasi kandar. I was curious enough to check out the place that I drove past the restaurant after 10pm and to witness for myself the queue. I counted at least 20 people queue up for their orders while there were at least 10 tables of customers opting for alfresco dining. The oldest Eu Yan Sang chinese medicine hall in Malaysia is also situated nearby this restaurant. Overnight stay at An-Nur Ancasa Express Suite also come with breakfast at a small coffeehouse behind the suite.

You just can’t compare both the accommodation above as they each provide a different kind of living experience. Holiday Inn Resort gives the beach lovers a nice relaxing stay by the beach while An-Nur Ancasa Express Suite brings sight-seeing and historical trails nearer to you. Both have their own share of positive and plus points for the guests, depending of what’s your budget and which type of holidays you prefer :-)

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