Saturday, February 14, 2009

Part 1: Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel - The Best Family Getaway EVER!

(WARNING! EXTREMELY LONG POST AHEAD. Part 1 of 2 - Be prepared to witness one of the Best Family Getaway Ever!!)

My blog rarely contains matters of business or of the companies that I run so this is the first time that there is a cross platform of work related matters that now involves my personal blog. Perhaps this would set a precendence for more to come but for now.. enjoy this post.

Through some workwise discussions, I was graciously offered the opportunity to review a Family Getaway Hotel Stay Package by Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel. It was an exciting lead up to the day that we were due to check in, we have not gone for a holiday in YEARS.

Yes, years... so we were highly due for some pampering and relaxation. So on the 7th of February, Eirian and I hopped into a cab and made our way to the hotel. We were so excited, we were there way before 9am and our appointment to meet the marketing manager was at 950am! Lauren had leadership camp earlier in the morning so CJ was left to arrange to pick her up and bring her over once she was done.

We brought along 3 bags filled with all our stuff and were very very excited!

As the Grand Mercure Roxy hotel is situated in the east, just opposite Parkway Parade, it took us less than 10 minutes to reach from home and hopped off the car in squealing anticipation.

The hotel mainly caters for corporate guests but as a move towards reaching out to the leisure group of travellers, locals and families. New promotions such as these are newly rolled out on a regular basis for families like ours to take up and enjoy. For convenience, there is even an hourly shuttle bus that ferries guests directly from the airport and back.

Looking directly across the road was Parkway Parade. How convenient!!

Floral arrangments abound everywhere in the hotel and I love how everything was so fresh and colourful! Eirian was bouncing off the sofas in the lobby just excited being there.

There is also a small lobby cafe which serves a lovely array of pastries and juices to go along with your morning coffee or tea at only $9 per person. *Slurps!*

Since we were early, we decided to check out the hotels' amenities on our own and headed up towards the escalators towards the 2nd floor and voila! Saw that it was Jia Wei Restaurant! I did a food review there just last december HERE! and the food was incredible!

Then we headed up to the 3rd floor and saw that it was Feast @ East. A buffet restaurant that serves all 3 meals plus brunch and hi-tea too!

We head back down again just like tourists all smiles at what was to come. As part of professional curtesy, I approached the counter to ask if it was alright for me to take pictures in the hotel and I was pleasantly surprised that the answer was yes, they were expecting me and I could take any picture I pleased.

Hurr?? Expecting me?! Whoa!! The communications within the hotel is really smooth with all relevant staff alerted of our arrival even before we checked in! Impressed already.

The hotels isn't a very tall one but it certainly makes up for its welcoming ambience and impressionable service levels. I also noted their security feature of only allowing the public up to the 4th storey and keeping the room levels locked and accessible by room key only.

We head up to level 4 to check out the pool and the spa. Over at the pool side, a sight pleased me.. piles and piles of fluffy warm towels! I love towels! Hahahh specially those that are fluffy and warm!

Eirian skipped over to the lounge chairs and let out a happy sigh.

After spending a couple of minutes revelling by the poolside, we head back down to meet the marketing manager and checked ourselves in to room 1338.

The standard Getaway package comes with a nights' stay in a superior room for 2 adults and 2 children and comes with buffet breakfast the morning after. Guests are allowed unlimited access to the pool and gym throughout the day and of course are welcome to patronise the in-house restaurants for their meals.

A delightful picnic goodie bag is also given to families taking this package which you will see later in my post.

A complimentary spa voucher which involves a 30 minute swedish back massage and a 15 minute aromatic steam bath by Body Contours which can be booked prior your check-in date for a complete relaxing experience. A further upgrade of $28 can be done on top of the complimentary voucher service to receive an additional 30 minutes massage and 30 minutes honey crystal spa polish.

We head up to our room which was upgraded to the Deluxe room, which is a little bigger than the superior room and BOY! were we pleased....

I flipped open my handphone and took a video of our room. Check that out!

Looking out of our window, we were pleased to note that we also had a sea view room which gave us a nice view of the East Coast and overlooks Parkway Parade too!

I took a video of our view too so check it out!

After settling in a little, we went about checking out the other amenities the hotel had to offer and of course, being the gym fan I am. I had to check out the gym too!

Small cosy place but it had almost everything a person travelling or on holiday would need. From cardio. machines, to free weights and even an in house personal gym trainer! Heck! it even looks like a cross section of what you'd find at California Fitness but CLEANER and smells so much fresher and with less crowd!

And here we have Eirian posing with the orchids just outside of the gym.

We were then brought upstairs to the Royal Club lounge where business travellers and those staying in the business suites and Royal Club suites *top level and most expensive rooms of the hotel* can use for various purposes. Wireless online access is available throughout the hotel.

Some light pastries, cereals and refreshments are readily available for those in the lounge.

A TV area too! If you want to further entertain guests with TV and don't want to do it in your room. And for business travellers. There is a fully equipped meeting room plus a business corner which has computer and printer access for those on the go!

My appointment for my spa treatment was pre-booked by the marketing manager and we head down at 10am to get me settled in while they settle Eirian with her legs up in one of the pedicure chairs and armed with a TV remote control to watch OCTO.

I opted for the $28 Spa upgrade and head off into my treatment room while the staff watched over Eirian.

My therapist was named Yvonne and she really knew what she was doing. She made me feel very comfortable. What I found strangely amazing was that she knew exactly where I was hurting or tense and where I was injured before even without me saying anything.

She knew that my right shoulder which was recently hurt with a little too much vigorous dancing had a crick in it and really concentrated her massage to clear the "block". Whooot! Heavenly. And she asked me "were you REALLY FAT before?" I was surprised and she said "I can see! Last time you very fat arh!" And she pointed out my stretch marks and parts of my body and said.. "last time 100kg arh.. now like this very good already.. maybe another 10kg more the most and then don't lose anymore just nice.... " It was like she was reading my mind.. -.-''

I finished my treatment feeling rejuvenated and pretty and was given a lovely warm cup of ginger tea to settle up. I LOVE ginger tea! And I also love how spa rooms are always so calm and serene...

We went up to our room after to wait for Lauren and CJs' arrival and for lunch time. And up on the itinery next was a Buffet lunch at Feast @ East! As part of the review, the hotel provided everything complimentary to us but guests on the package are most welcome to patronise the restaurants for their meals at the following dining rates.

We were treated to their Chinese New Year Special theme lunch and a table was specially reserved just for us! And the supervisor at the restaurant knew us by name! We felt so important and pampered!

Lunch (Mon to Sat) - $38++ per adult, $19++ per child, $28 nett per senior citizen

Dinner (Mon to Sat) - $40++ per adult, $20++ per child, $30 nett per senior citizen

Sunday Brunch - $48++ per adult, $25++ per child, $30 nett per senior citizen.

The next theme at Feast@East is the Lavish Heritage Buffet (from 16 Feb to 13 Mar 2009) where there is a special privilege for senior citizens where for every four paying senior citizens, only three pay while one dines for free (up to a max of 8 in a group).

Senior Citizen - $28 nett per pax for lunch (Mon to Sat), $30 nett per pax for dinner (Mon to Sat), $35 nett per pax for Sunday Brunch

Adults - $36++ per pax for lunch (Mon to Sat), $38++ per pax for dinner (Mon to Thu), $40++ per pax for dinner (Fri to Sun), $42++ per pax for Sunday Brunch

Children - $18++ per pax for lunch (Mon to Sat), $19++ per pax for dinner (Mon to Thu), $20++ per pax for dinner (Fri to Sun), $22++ per pax for Sunday Brunch.

There will also be a Hi-Tea Buffet every Fri and Sat (from 16 Feb to 13 Mar 2009) from 3pm to 5.30pm at Feast@East where it is $18++ per adult or senior citizen and $12++ per child. The senior citizen special does not apply for this Hi-Tea Buffet.

The opening hours of Feast@East Buffet Restaurant are:

Breakfast - 6am to 10.30am
Lunch - 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner - 6pm to 9.30pm
Sunday Brunch - 11am to 3pm

I love hotel food. I really do. I love buffets lines! We started off with walking around the buffet line and checking out the food available. With a Chinese New Year theme, there were cookies of course! All CNY favourites too!

And of course the salad and fruit bar is a must at every buffet. As I was making my rounds taking pictures of the food, a gentleman approached me and said "Hi! You must be THE BLOGGER".

For a moment there, I was stunned and nodded furiously while smiling and wondering who this person was. Was he another blogger? Or just a hotel guest seeing that I had my face plastered to my camera which was in turn plastered closely to the food displays and thus assuming I'm a blogger?

Only after a moment where he pulled out his card to give to me did I realise. Oh. My. Gawd. It was the Hotel General Manger who was also having lunch. We spoke casually and then as gracious and surprising as his appearance, left me to my own devices to continue snapping away at his food bar.

The bread baskets were full.. the cheese platters were nicely displayed and there as a roast meat section too which were personally cut up and served to you by counter staff...

Potato salad, Shepherd's pie, fish fillets and cereal prawns. I ate a little of EVERYTHING!

I was specially pleased to see Roast Beef with brown gravy.. *slurps!*. This was SO GOOD. And there was also fried rice... *carbs.. - urgh*

We were completely fawned upon with service staff hovering over us like bees to honey. Our waters & juices always remained full and chilled. Our empty plates whisked away without request and food carried to our tables without us needing to carry them back from the buffet counter. It was SOOOO IMPRESSIVE!! that everything was done with such impeccable service quality.

We then decided to do a little test and try something off the menu and asked if they could make us milk shakes. Rossi, the supervisor didn't even twitch and smoothly went on to asking "extra thick? More milk or more ice-cream?" I was stunned again. "More ice-cream of course!"

5 minutes later, 3 glasses of milkshakes were presented to our table. Two vanilla shakes and one extra thick Strawberry Milkshake. Oh. My. God. I was in heaven again. Kill me and send me to the GM Roxy Hotel... hahahahaha!

And there was a hot counter which served hot piping Laksa and Mee Rebus. I had both and they were excellent! As I was busy walking around taking pictures, I left my bowl of laksa to cool at my table and returned to it shortly after.

In less than a minute into tucking into my noodles, one of the waiters came to my table with a new bowl of piping hot laksa and offered to change my existing bowl bc it was "getting cold".

FFWWWWWwwwwwuuuaahhhhhhh!!!!!! IMPRESSIVE LARH! I gracefully declined as I actually liked my noodles cool and not burning hot but their intentions were really appreciated and touching. They really know how to make a guest feel first class.

More of the buffet spread. Braised tofu, steamed fish, chicken masala and papaya salad!

Some kind of nugget, mock char siew nuggets in tomato sauce, shark fin omelette and stewed pork.

And of course some Japanese fare of fresh raw tuna and salmon, sushi rolls, topshell and smoked salmon slices...

One of our favourite areas was at the chocolate fondue counter & fountain! We skewered fruits and marshmallows and dunked ourselves silly. When I returned from one of my rounds, I was pleasantly surprised to see my girls laughing and happily dunking their chocolate covered sticks into a huge bowl of crushed ice which specially was provided to them by the staff to harden the chocolate! Such a good idea!

And then of course there was the dessert bar which we all eyed from the first time we entered. They had durian cakes, brownies, fruits, jellies, ice-cream and best of all. Durian puree.. pure unadulterated durian puree!! Insane!!! It was soooo good!! After lunch, we all ROLLED out of the restaurant back to our rooms for a nap.

End of Part 1. To be continued in the next post, Part 2. Stay Tuned!

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