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IMPIANA CASUARINA HOTEL
 

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LOCATION:
On Jalan Raja Nazrin Shah. Distance from Ipoh Airport (IPH) is about 15 minutes. If you are driving, there are two main ways to get here from the North South Expressway (NSE). You may take the Gopeng or Simpang Pulai exit, from which you will use the old Federal Route 1 towards Ipoh. Alternatively, you can take Ipoh Selatan exit at Kinta City, get onto Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and turn right into Jalan Tambun and Jalan Raja Dihilir. There will be a roundabout that will point you to Jalan Raja Nazrin Shah, at which this hotel is located.

DESCRIPTION:
If I am not mistaken, the hotel has undergone so many name changes throughout the history of its operations. I spent quite some childhood amount in the city of Ipoh, and I recalled back then, the hotel was called The Royal Casuarina or something to that effect. Then, about 5 years ago, it was known as Parkroyal Casuarina which was under the Parkroyal Hotel Chain. The most recent management change has seen the hotel is now being currently managed and promoted by the Impiana Hotel Group but surprisingly the Casuarina brand name is retained for being a rather well-known association with the hotel scene in Ipoh.

Don't get me wrong though. The Casuarina brand name not necessarily exudes extra luxurious feel or anything. To me, the hotel is quite old, with decent attempts to revitalise it with a series of renovation and refurbishment. The hotel consists of 200 guest rooms and suites, most are facing either the spectacular limestone hills (pretty much what Ipoh is famous for), towering peaks of the Titiwangsa Range (with a number of mountain peaks exceeding 2,000 metres) as well as the city skyline of Ipoh and the Kinta Valley in general.

My deluxe room was rather disappointing. The room uses quite a lot of sombre colour moods of light blue and grey. At the room entrance, there is a Japanese-inspired sliding wardrobe which I thought was quite nice. Other than that, the room facilities are quite standard; individually-controlled air-conditioning, IDD phone, colour TV with in-house movie channels and Astro, dial-up internet data port, attached bathroom, mini bar and coffee-making facility.

The lobby and reception areas are also quite old in design. Most of the time, the lobby will be filled with well dressed-up local politicians and socialites frequenting the adjacent club lounge (that means a lot of expensive cars filling up the lobby entrance). Nonetheless, I thought the swimming pool is very nice, with some tropical feels to it. The pool area is also nicely landscaped with lush greenery, exquisite thatched roof huts and and a number of coconut trees.

The only eating outlet here is the Garden Terrace Coffeehouse which is facing the nice swimming pool. It offers all-day dining of breakfast, lunch and dinner. with an option for al fresco dining with a pool view to boot. I had my morning breakfast here and recalled that the made-to-order omelets were particularly good. Sitting next to my table were a couple of New Zealanders who surprisingly asked for more Boh tea (a local tea brand grown in Cameron Highlands).

Overall, the hotel is quite OK, but nothing is strikingly extraordinary in term of designs and services. The published rack rates start at RM375 per night for a Superior Deluxe room and further up for Premier Deluxe, Junior Suite, Executive Suite and Royal Suite.

REVIEWED ON:
May 2006

MY VERDICT:
Not too bad. A standard-class hotel to stay in the city of Ipoh. The views are fantastic though, provided you get the higher floors.

MY RATING:

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