Travel With Jules' own Mags Reed went to Malaysia on holiday with husband Teri ... here is Teri's account of their travels!
"Magsie wanted to go back to see the Malaysia of her travelling years, way before me and number one son came into her life, and I wanted to see it for the first time ever. So twelve hours of BA premium economy later (with lots of fizz – if you ask nicely you sometimes get a flight attendant who'll nip into Business Class and get you a bottle... or two) we stumped up at the Majestic in Kuala Lumpur.
Doormen in pith helmets and the type of shorts Eric Morecambe made famous and a lobby the size of a football pitch (OK, say a five a side pitch, but still big), the Majestic harks back to a time that may not have actually existed but it really should have. With a jazz trio in the bar, sticky toffee pudding on the menu and the biggest and most varied breakfast buffet I've ever seen anywhere ever it's a taste of real colonial splendour.
We also got an upgrade to a suite bigger than some flats I've lived in. For our one day in KL we took a walking tour with the marvellous Sonny and went up the Petronas Towers, a must see. But, boy... it's hot on foot and air con on the monorail is very welcome.
A very brief flight later and we were in the Lone Pine in Batu Feringghi, where the younger Magsie recalled Casuarina trees and deserted beaches. It's been caught up a bit by the 21st century since then and the beach now caters to every type of water sports fanatic and has a late night karaoke bar. It's no longer the quiet retreat it was - especially as we were treated to the most amazing tropical storm one night. The food court next door, the Long Beach, is well worth a try. The food is cheap, quick and fab. Everything from pizza to prawns via China and India is available, paper plates on plastic tables and chairs with beer cooling in Tupperware jugs and better service than most restaurants in the UK.
A few days later we had a private transfer to Georgetown where we stayed in the quirky Blue Mansion. This is such a different, special place. Not really a hotel, it's a renovated mansion with a history. The rooms are the old bedrooms of the mansion and it's a little spooky to wander the corridors and feel the history and ponder who's lived there over the years We walked around Georgetown taking in the huge variety of cultures, street food and, oh my, the heat – with a welcome, if extended, escape to the air con of a bus on the way to Penang Hill. Happy hour evening cocktails were taken at the nearby Eastern Oriental hotel bar before more street food in the Red Court food garden (not as good as Long Beach, it must be said)
Then an even shorter flight (take off, seat belts undone, peanuts, drink, seatbelts on, landing... 35 minutes) we decamped to the beachside luxury of the Casa del Mar in Langkawi. Our room opened out onto the pure white tropical beach of Bounty ads and honeymoon postcards.
The restaurant spills out onto the beach and we had our first evening meal barefoot in the sand watching the sun sink into the sea as the myriad green lights of the small calamari fishing boats speckled the horizon. The bar has a new twist on 'happy hour' – they have 'lucky hour'. The bar is decorated in coloured tiles and there's a 'wheel of fortune' matching the colours. You place your drink on a coloured tile of your choice and you spin the wheel. If it matches you win another drink. To be honest, we didn’t win as many as we lost but it didn't stop us having some very pleasant evenings exploring the cocktail menu with an Aussie couple who were on a mission! Slow strolls along the beach as the sun sets reveal more beachside eateries, the ones we tried all surprisingly good. Poolside service is perfect – with ad hoc deliveries of water and fruit as you struggle to get through another tough day on a sun lounger under a white canvas canopy wondering what the guys back home are doing.
All in all, a very excellent trip with the right mix of culture, exploration and downtime – just don’t ask Magsie how she felt about the snake temple!"
A flower arrangement not for the faint-hearted...!!
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