Monday, March 9, 2009

Accommodations in Kuala Lumpur Part 2 – Hotel Seasons View Along the Popular Jalan Alor




SITTING AT THE HEART of Kuala Lumpur’s backpacker haven is Jalan Alor (Alor Street) which comes alive at night! As the sun sets over the city, the street lamps illuminate over what tourist books refer to as the Hawker’s Street, the “food street” if you may, where tables occupy half the street and a hundred and one tourists bask in the revelry of camaraderie and sumptuous meal. No! Food here doesn’t necessarily come cheap. After all, tourists in general are perceived to have oodles of moolah sprouting out of their edifices, but Alor is nevertheless worth a try – even just once. Make sure though that you are served a well-cooked meal!

Last October (2008),
Kuala Lumpur City Hall was underfire for its desire to rename Jalan Alor to Jalan Kejora. They were adamant that changing the name to Jalan Kejora - a move that has sparked a public outcry – is ”the right thing to do”. Datuk Bandar Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan said the move, which was planned three years ago, would give the tourist destination of Bukit Bintang a new image. This decision has drawn flak from traders, tourists and local residents alike. After all, “Jalan Alor”, when googled yields about 200,000 returns (yahoo search yields 970,000 items). It is THAT popular! And renaming it into something new and unfamiliar will only alienate its regular clientele and future tourists who have heard of this popular hawker street! It is like renaming the Eiffel Tower into Paris Tower, and the inherent magic gets mislaid or wayward. The name change came to light when city hall replaced the road sign. The Jalan Alor name has been in existence for 35 years.


City Hall explained that the name was changed at the request of the
National Economic Action Council to meet requirements under the road naming guidelines to go with other roads in the vicinity.


In the day time, Jalan Alor goes into slumber.



EXPENSIVE BACKPACKER JAUNTS

Along Jalan Alor, just a few walks from Jalan Bukit Bintang, is a budget hotel that’s a little better than most guesthouses that KL can offer – Hotel Seasons View. KL suffers from a lack of cheap but acceptable accommodations for the budget-conscious backpacker! The cheap ones are dreary and cringe-inducing. Those that are marginally acceptable are considerably “pricey” if you compare it to the other dwellings of similar quality within the region (Laos, Vietnam, India).


I came across
Hotel Seasons View from internet surfing way back 2007. It is not found in either wikitravel or Lonely Planet. A single standard room costs 88 malaysian ringgit – roughly $25, and this includes breakfast! The hotel is a 6-story edifice in the heart of Jalan Alor. Its website employs a reservation form that replies diligently. Unfortunately, upon their reply, they require you to call them. And there is a good reason why a backpacker resorts to budget hotels like Seasons View, but the hotel’s penchant for “reassurance of booking” leaves so much to be desired. They would require you to give them a call to “reserve”, then on the day of your arrival, they want you to call again just before getting into your plane! If it so happens that you arrive in the evening, they would require you to once again call upon touching down! Then after doing so, they would only give you ONE HOUR to get yourself from KLIA to the city center! Now you have to remember that passing through immigration can take some time. Then you have 51 kilometers to travel from the airport to Jalan Alor – making “1 hour upon arrival” close to impossible. And didn't I tell you that you HAVE to give them a call also upon arrival! The 3 instances of calling them will already save you sufficient money for another overnight stay in the city! And doesn’t this dreary mechanics defeat the purpose of an online reservation if all you have to do is spend an adequate amount of time ringing the hotel?

A single standard room is relatively acceptable -
pwede na. Some rooms teem with roaches while others are a little better. If you aren't happy with your room, you can always ask for similar rooms - if they're available. There is an old television set that shows a few local stations. The AC has seen better days; its roving control doesn’t work. An elevator will take you to your room. A cozy restaurant is located beside the lobby, and the people manning it are quite attentive and accommodating. A single unit of desk top computer sits beside the door. It will take time before the reception staff warms up to your touristy demeanors, but once you get their fancy, they can be quite congenial! The main advantage of staying in this hotel is its location. After all, if all you need for an accommodation is a place to lay your weary head at night, then Seasons View is for you. They can arrange for a cheap taxi ride to KLIA as well at a really affordable 75-80 ringgit! This is a bargain considering that most taxis won’t let you haggle for anything below 100 ringgit for an airport ride. They also offer day-outs to Genting Highlands (85 to 95 ringgit per person), but you are better off going there on your own – at a much cheaper expense.

Hotel Seasons View

Visit their website - http://www.seasonsview.com/ for inquiries and reservations. They have 48 rooms and they’re just a 5 kilometer walk from Bukit Bintang and the famous Bintang Walk, as well as malls like Sungai Wang, Starhill, Lot 10, The Pavillion, and Berjaya Times Square (along Jalan Imbi). It’s easy to find. Just look for KFC along Bukit Bintang, then Jalan Alor is a few steps walk from Jalan Alor. Their address: 61 Jalan Alor, Off Jalan Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Phone: 603-2145 7577 Fax: 603-2143 3532 Email: reservation@seasonsview.com.



This is the Eye in the Sky.


Jalan Alor aka Jalan Kejora comes alive at night.


At night, taxis refuse to take you along Jalan Alor. A great part of the road is covered with tables and chairs. Food stalls stand by the road side, and a delicious aroma of grilled food wafts through the smoky atmosphere.


The deliciously pungent smell of Durian...


From Jalan Alor, you can leisurely walk to the KL Monorail's Bukit Bintang station.


Fruit stalls selling exotic Asian harvest - rambutan (mamon chino), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), durian.


For those who require a familiar taste away from home, KFC along Bukit Bintang is open 24 hours. It's also a perfect location to find your way to Jalan Alor.







The street at the corner of Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismael.



For more options on accommodation, check out the previous post and this post below:


More Accommodations in KL here (follow the succeeding posts here for different hotels):





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