Monday, December 31, 2012

Hotel Al Jafs - Accommodations in KL

Hotel Al Jafs was one of the 6 KL hotels I booked during my last long haul November/December trip; two of them (Beltif Hotel and Sunbow Hotel Residency) I've stayed in before. This hotel is particularly memorable because I found it hard to locate. In fact, as early as my 1st arrival, I already tried looking for this - and failed! The hotel is actually closer to the Alor area, specifically Hotel Radius International. My booking goes: after a night at Hotel Radius, I'd check out and transfer to Hotel Al Jafs where I'd only stay for 7 to 8 hours since I had a flight after midnight. This was like a transit stay.

Upon research, this hotel rates well with guests, and I like the fact that you don't get charged for early arrival like I was charged 50 ringgit for arriving 1 hour too early at the Hotel Radius International which is one hotel I would not recommend for various reasons. I was, of course, curious. True enough, checking in was a breeze, which was a good thing because it took me more than 30 minutes to find the hotel. Funny thing was, I just found it the day before so how could I get very lost again - this time with a very heavy 15-kilogram bag (it was like punishment)!

The girl at the counter was far from being warm, considering the fact that I was the only one there (read: she wasn't busy). That didn't matter to me; I wasn't there to make good friends. I was given my key. I went up the mezzanine floor to find the restaurant (where you get your breakfast that's included in the Agoda booking). The lift is on this floor. I was heading towards the 3rd floor (which should be the 5th level, as per Philippine assignation). There were water jugs on the hallways, and the floor was immaculate. But there was hardly anyone there.

The room wasn't big (though it's bigger than rooms at Le Apple Boutique Hotel). There was a split-type AC, a LCD TV with international channels, a free wifi connection, a kettle for hot water for tea/coffee, hot and cold water, and 2 complimentary bottles of water. The bathroom was dry, clean, and the fixtures looked relatively new. Toiletries were likewise provided. My window had a view of the skyline. Al Jafs has 44 rooms.

The bed was comfortably soft and the sheets smelled clean. On TV was an Indian talent show that had special guest judges - superstar Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, stars of the new Bollywood release, "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" ("As Long as There is Life"). Was it serendipity that I actually went to see this the night before? Figured I had to watch it for a lot of reasons: SRK stars in it; this Indian film is being shown simultaneously all over the world - it was in Manila when I left, it was all over Australia and it's now in Malaysia. I just couldn't miss it. But I was tired that I eventually slept through the results.


Sometime before 6 PM, I went out to buy a couple of DVD's I missed buying the night before. By this time, I had some 50 titles with me. This didn't take long. Upon my return to the hotel, I saw a morose guy at the lobby. I nodded, but he stopped me. "You have a room?" he asked. No hellos, no nods, no greeting! "Yes, idiot, I do. Otherwise, I wouldn't get inside." I thought. I raised my keys and hopped away. The odd thing here is, they couldn't even offer a polite "hello" or a smile - any welcoming gesture; why would I offer them any? I didn't know who he was - or was I supposed to greet every Tom, Dick and Harry I see at the lobby? I was a paying guest, I didn't have to, you know. While I understand the security measures they had to uphold, it wouldn't hurt if they showed a little courtesy first. Acknowledging anyone who comes into the front door is key. After all, this business is based on the tenets of good will which is part of what they are selling; not just the rooms.


A couple of hours later, I was already carrying my bag to check out. I handed my card key. "I'm checking out," I told the counter lady. She dramatically quipped, "Why?" At least she remembered that I just got in a few hours ago. "Because I have a flight to catch?" I replied. Suddenly, the warmth and hospitality that was vaguely there came flooding by. Both from the counter girl and the non-smiling man I met earlier. "Aww, that's too bad," she said, then added, "See you again next time." I chuckled. I had to. It was too funny to feel so welcome only when I was leaving.

This is the Eye in the Sky!


Front desk

Lobby and waiting room

Hotel Radius International is nearby. Just walk at the end of the street seen here, then turn left at the corner.

Stairs from the mezzanine.

Dining Room: mostly abandoned after breakfast.


My room at the 3rd floor.

Indian Superstar Shahrukh Khan comments about a contestant who sang one of his earlier songs.

Window view

Notice the detail on the wall.

From this corner stop, you could see Hotel Radius International.

Hotel Al Jafs is located at No. 17-19 Jalan Bedara, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (behind Hotel Istana). Call them at 03 - 21433700. Emai them at

For more information, updates, rates and location, visit their website:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hotel Nova - Accommodations in KL

KL has become a very familiar city for me. I must have visited the city a dozen times (including transits that usually last 1 day or 2). But I've discovered a way to keep these visits "fresh" - by trying to discover new hotels. Of late, they've become part of the itinerary. Though not as relaxing as staying in just a single hotel, I get to discover the area surrounding the hotel. I try to limit these so-called discoveries within Bukit Bintang because this is where I eat, watch movies, take my trains, shop, forage for DVD's. Hotel Nova is one of the 4 new hotels I've checked out recently. And it's a very purple experience.

Getting to Hotel Nova wasn't a walk in the park. After checking out of Beltif Hotel, the rains started to fall. With my 9 kg backpack, I decided a combination of walking and taking the train (one stop from Imbi to Bukit Bintang station). By the time I got to Jalan Alor, the trickle of rain had turned into downpour that lasted for hours - and I didn't have an umbrella with me. I'm usually too lazy to bring one, and carrying a rain coat considerably adds to the weight of the bag. I waited beside a hotel at the extreme end of Alor Street. Hotel Nova is a 5 minute walk to the other side. By this time, I was already partially drenched.

After a 45 minute wait, I decided to make a dash into the rain - and walking along Alor doesn't necessarily allow a sprint (cars, tables, people congest this lane). I made it into the hotel lobby, handed my Agoda voucher, then without much fanfare, was whisked away at the 6th floor - room 606. I was glad to leave the lobby as it was a zoo out there, and the hotel staff seemed too morose to really care who came in or went.

The minute I closed the door behind me, the rain that never let up stopped - like some joke made in my behalf. :)

The room was a breath of fresh air. It was spacious and thematically designed, with purple walls adored with the painting of a sleeping baby. The room had an excellent view of the skyline. I liked the interiors as well, cute lampshades, light fixtures, a well hidden refrigerator stocked with goodies, and more importantly, the queen-sized bed with fragrant sheets and comfortable bed and pillows. The TV set is still the bulky one, but I hardly use it anyway. The bathroom is as spacious, very clean, dry, and the water pressure is more than adequate. Wifi is likewise available in the room (choose the room level for your pick of connections).

Needless to say, Hotel Noval is centrally located as it stands in the heart of the hawker's street. My booking included breakfast (at CasaNova Cafe), but I didn't bother try it as it would be an unpleasant quick fit into my schedule. I had an early flight to Queensland, Australia. I'd skip breakfast anytime for that. LOL

Hotel Nova could be warmer and more hospitable, but it teems with guests (mostly locals) so they could rationalize out of their disregard for pleasantries. It isn't really an excuse, but at least they weren't rude. Would I stay here again? You bet I would.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Entrance of Hotel Nova

The foyer.

Front Desk

Displays at the waiting room.

CasaNova Cafe, Hotel Nova's restaurant (above and below).

My room at 606

My favorite spot. I could sit in front of the window and just look at the view outside.

Sleeping child.

Light fixture at the table thematically agrees with the painting.

AC control. This control hangs by the wall and is unstable, I had to hold it when maneuvering.

Lots of rolled tissues and towels.

6th level hallway.

My door.

Morning at Jalan Alor at the extreme end of the street.