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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Philea Resort & Spa at Ayer Keroh Melaka

Based on past experience, Jonker 88 is THE place on Jonker Street to go for dessert and all other affordable nyonya food like assam laksa, nyonya nasi lemak with baba chicken, goreng goreng and seafood soup noodles etc. The only draw back is of course the limited number of seats and the long queue - self service means standing in the broiling hot sun waiting to order, and then for your food to be cooked and plunked down on a tray.

And so because I was in charge of ordering (I had a brolly and didn't mind standing in the sun) and I couldn't make up my mind what to have given how delicious each item on the menu seemed, we ended up with more than we could finish - the seafood soup, the baba rendang chicken, and of course the assam laksa and curry laksa. I have reviewed the food before so all I would say is that you can't not try the assam laksa (extreme right). It is fantastic!

So after that heavy lunch, with great anticipation, we made our way to Philea Resort, touted to be Melaka's first six star hotel. We got lost along the way, having gone to Jonker Street first and ended up making several rounds around the Ayer Keroh area, only to find that Philea is situated just 500m after the Ayer Keroh exit from NS Highway (on the left).

The lobby was impressive and matched our expectations of what a 6 star hotel should be like - expansive with high ceilings and neatly-clad, well-spoken help staff ready to help with the check-in process and our luggage.

Because the rooms/villas are a distance away from the reception, it was necessary for us to climb on board one of the buggies which took us on a tour of the hotel's grounds. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable - we learnt that philea means a type of butterfly in Russian. He also told us that the owner of the resort was buying more land around it to build more facilities.

And I think that is a pretty good idea because other than the spa, the only facility they have is this very non-impressive swimming pool which runs through the resort. It IS nice to look at in the pic above but other than its size/length, there are no slides or anything which distinguishes it from a normal swimming pool. The pic below shows how the villas are like and each villa has four rooms.
Our room was on the first floor of the villa - that's us in the mirror there - I've come to realise that because my CEB is not willing to bring a tripod around, the only way we ever are going to have photos of us together will be through the use of mirrors - but anyway, the point of the picture below is to show how the entire villa is constructed out of logs.

When we opened the door of the villa, we stepped into this below - maybe because I'd stayed in Capella's seaview room before so I had similar expectations of this so-called 6 star hotel. The room while really unique (the logs and all), was unfortunately rather dark and dim within.

As expected, there were no cable channels on the 32inch TV in the room but the hotel had free wifi so my CEB set up his netbook and we spent our time watching movies on the netbook - or rather, I did, because he fell asleep after a while when we were midway through the first one.

Alright, why the pic below? Because that heralds the start of my rant against this so-called 6 star hotel. According to the website, everything in the mini bar was complimentary and, 4 cans of soft drinks was all the mini bar contained. That, and 2 bottles of mineral water. It is such a far cry from The Datai and more so, from Capella which had premium food and drinks stocked in its bars. 4 cans of soft drinks is acceptable for a normal 4-5 star hotel but a 6 star hotel??

The picture below shows the left half of the bathroom. Now, my CEB likes soaking in the tub and all but this tub in Philea was so dirty-looking that he didn't want to use it. So I figured I'll just wash away the black specks by running a bath, and guess what - the water gushing from the tap was cold despite me turning the tap all the way to the max temp. I thought it was a water heater issue but nope, the standing shower on the right half of the bathroom worked just fine with lots of hot water. A 6 star hotel which doesn't even allow you to run a hot bath? Right...

The toiletries were placed on a wooden tray at the bottom of the sink and were the only items which made me feel that I was getting some bang for the buck. However, that feeling didn't last too long because of what happened in the evening - I used the toilet and flushed. And the freaking toilet OVERFLOWED and over my feet! We've stayed in budget hotels before - like Tune but NEVER in my life have I experienced having my feet dirtied with the contents of a used W.C from a hotel. Much less a 6 star hotel! I know shit happens, in this case, not just figuratively but still, to have paid this much for a room in a 6 star hotel and have this happen is just...wrong.

I wanted to raise a stinker (again, not just figuratively) to the hotel mgt but my CEB was there so I merely told them what had happened. They did not offer to have us change rooms which is what a 6 star hotel should do but instead said they would send someone over to fix the problem. We waited a good 15mins but no one came so I called them again and asked them to fix the problem while we went out for dinner. When we came back, guess what - they had fixed the W.C. but not the mess on the ground which was still soaked in W.C. water/contents. And the floor cloth which I had used to sop up some of the mess was still lying there in a crumpled heap. If you know me, you don't need to guess my reaction - but my CEB being the more easy-going of us two, managed to still make his trademark smiley faces with my sunny-side up the next morning at breakfast which brings me to my next grouse.

Below is a pic of the breakfast area of the resort. The selection is...for want of better words, is limited and pathetic. Maybe it has to do with the occupancy - only 1 other table was filled but other than that, there were hardly any items for us to choose from :( It was that lousy.

Yes, lousy is the right word for the breakfast buffet spread at Philea Resort. This was my breakfast. I'm dissing the spread, the food, but not the service at the restaurant. The chef was very friendly and helpful and I could not feel sorry for him that he was responsible for facing guests dissatisfied the selection of food which he had no control over.
To conclude, the Slog Reviews: 1/10 for Philea Resort if one is at Melaka. There are so many other hotels one could stay at while in Melaka and which are even more centrally located than Philea. If one does not have a car, getting to town/Jonker 88 will pose difficulties indeed. And to pay that amount of money for a mediocre room without hot water for the bath, a disgraceful breakfast spread and no facilities but the swimming pool and spa is a sheer waste. And if the W.C. does not overflow over one's feet, one should count oneself fortunate not to share the stomach-churning experience I had. As my CEB said, this so called 6 star hotel is 1 star facility, 1 star breakfast spread and 4 star customer service (the front end staff's service is excellent - can't speak for the repair staff though who left the dirty floor cloth in the toilet after fixing the W.C).

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