Ye Olde Smokehouse in Fraser’s Hill is an wonderful old fashion english style inn.
Make sure you are careful in contacting them as another lodge has a very similar name.
The service was excellent.
I very much enjoyed the treehouse cabin at the Permai Rainforest Resort. The reviews on Agoda for the ground level lodgings there were not great, but I was extremely pleased with the treetop cabin I stayed at. The Permai Rainforest Resort is in Damai, about 30 km outside Kuching.
The treehouses all are along the forest edge where it meets the beach. You hear the wonderful sound of waves crashing and winds rushing through the forest trees.
They were quite cool, with the shade and wind, but also offered AC if you wished to use it. The cafeteria wasn’t anything fancy but offered tasty food and a decent wifi connection (no wifi is available in the rooms).
Classic Inn Premium offers a very good location, in Bukit Bintang KL, with clean and quiet rooms and good wifi. There is a large mall right across the street with plenty of places to eat (along with some places to eat on right next to the hotel).
Rooms are a bit small, but fine. The things they could do to improve the rooms are to put more small tables in to put things on, there is space for them and almost no other space to put things on. The showers are nice (good water pressure, hot water and high – 8+ feet, which is nice when you have some places you have to duck to get your head in). The bathrooms are the normal budget SE Asia toilet/shower combo which might seem odd to some but these are above average.
Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur is a luxury hotel in downtown KL. I don’t stay in such places often but I splurged (and also had a big, well over 50%, discount through Agoda – the links here go to Agoda which provides a big discount and I am given a reward for bookings that come from links on my site) and it was very nice. It is very close to Petronas towers, KLCC park and the convention center.
The check in is a bit chaotic (they have a very sloppy process, no queing strategy…) but the location and rooms are fantastic. Grand Deluxe rooms are significantly better in my opinion (more room and fantastic huge windows and views); if you want that view it is easily worth $30 more a night.
The other option I have used in KL is The Bodhi Lodge, which is very inexpensive. The rooms are small (maybe 10 feet by 8 feet?) and clean with a mattress on the ground and a small table and chair (wifi is available in the room). The person that checked me in was wonderful and has great ideas for tourists in KL. The common areas are very nice (TV and computers and wifi).
Malaysia doesn’t have noise pollution standards as far as I can tell (does anyone know if this is accurate – if they do exist they sure are not enforced effectively). So you may well find extremely loud noises from extremely loud speakers from street events, bars and temples late into the night and very early in the morning. At some Johor Bahru condos this is not a huge issue, but at others it is a huge problem.
There are various methods of trying to cope with noise pollution. Installing windows that are at least double-paned can help (but if the speakers are blasting away too loudly that will only reduce the problem, but not effectively deal with it). Heavy curtains can also noticeably reduce noise pollution penetrating into the room (but they are not nearly as effective as good windows). I am still looking for some way to buy such curtains in Johor Bahru (or get them shipped here). Please comment if you know where I can get them, or someone who is willing to make them for me (it really shouldn’t be that hard). I have talked to numerous places without any success. And I have emailed some places and don’t even get a response.
Upon discovering how bad the noise pollution was (I don’t know the scope of the problem yet, some days it is extremely bad far later into the night and starting again very early the next morning – other days is just very bad but only for a few hours). I bought some headphones and a fan locally and ordered some devices to mask noise pollution (they generate more noise in the hopes of canceling out more annoying noise) from Amazon. I was amazed to get the devices shipped from the USA to Malaysia in just 4 days.
The Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine is a great device that creates various noises (stream, ocean, fireplace, rainfall, meadow…). One great feature of this device is that it has a microphone it uses to hear the noise level and then adjusts to increase the volume it produces to mask the noise pollution. It also will accept 100-240 volts (it has a transformer itself – like computer laptops do). It is very good for low levels of noise pollution (I would say under 60 decibels). However high levels it has to get so loud to mask them that it isn’t very useful.
Fans also work decently for low levels of noise. The combination of the sleep machine, a fan, and earplugs, in my bedroom, is enough on most nights. However, on nights (and days) with louder noise pollution – I would estimate over 80 decibels getting into my room (as loud as if someone placed a TV in your room and turned it on – it is definitely significantly louder than my TV) those don’t work – even with all that, the noise pollution still gets through.
The noise pollution is by far the most annoying thing I have had to deal with here. I am surprised (and extremely disappointed) that I was recommended this condo given how important I said peace and quite was. But my experience is an example of how important it is to beware, as the purchaser, and watch out for yourself. I am not sure how bad noise pollution is at all other condos but many have to be far superior in that regard to mine. Other than that problem (which is huge) this condo has many advantages. Realtors in Johor Bahru are in the business of renting the units they have. You can’t count on them actually knowing the strengths and weaknesses of options and presenting you their expert advice on what meets your needs (some will, others won’t). I would say this is the only big problem I have had. Otherwise many things have gone well.
As I write this, for at least 44 of the last 60 hours I have had extremely loud speakers blasted into my bedroom (over over 75 decibels and over 85 for many hours), it is unbelievable to me that this is tolerated as acceptable behavior. But it is. On my balcony it is often over 100 decibels, I would estimate, though not for quite as long – maybe 20 of the last 60 hours (the level increases from very loud to extremely loud at various times).
I have added a page on the site with links to good hotels and accommodations in Malaysia. At this time it covers 4 areas: Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Penang and Johor Bahru. Different people have different desires for a hotel room. And at different times even the same person does. In general I prefer to save my money by using discount lodging, but I splurge occasionally – especially if I can get a great deal. I did that, when I stayed at the Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur and it was wonderful.
I also have found nice discount places and some in-between. I really nice place in Johor Bahru is Bliss Boutique Hotel that has very distinctive room designs. They also have great staff. If you don’t mind small rooms it is a great choice for Johor Bahru.
Langkawi is a wonderful place to vacation and relax at the beach. I stayed at the Sunset Beach Resort which had very simple and well maintained bungalows. One of the best “features” was a great Indian restaurant on the beach – right next store to the hotel.
A great hotel in Penang is the G Hotel on Gurney Drive.
Today I went to the Islamic Art Museum, Bird Park, Little India and the Aquarium in Kuala Lumpur. I am staying at a great hotel, with a very nice view (even free internet in your room). You can book for great rates using Agoda – I am becoming a big fan of Agoda as I use it on my travels. Here are some photos from the day (and one from last night).
I spent some time researching hotels in Johor Bahru, Malaysia that are reasonable/cheap priced and provide good value.
[updated Aug 29th, 2011]