Saturday, 23 August 2014

Penang Day 1: Golden Sands Resort

We're off for yet another trip, this time to Penang in Malaysia, our friendly neighbour. Penang is further up North than Kuala Lumpur so we are flying via Air Asia from Changi Airport Terminal 2.

Kid's playground at Terminal 2 Transit
Baby Boy's first time at an indoor playground; he's not a big fan of the slide!

I wasn't keen on travelling on a budget airline, after having travelled on full-service flights for the last few trips to Hong Kong, London and Bangkok. I felt really claustrophobic in the smaller plane, which reminded me of the time that we had travelled in a small budget flight to Shenzhen. The journey to Shenzhen was a terrible experience for the Mum-in-law and I as we took turns to carry my 8 month old baby girl (there were no bassinets) for an almost 4 hour flight in the middle of the night! Ever since then we swore never to travel via budget airlines with a baby again!

Thankfully the flight to Penang was only 1.5 hours. We were really happy to have arrived safely at Penang International Airport.

We were famished after clearing customs so we had lunch at the airport.

Lunch at Penang Airport

We had initially wanted to take the 7-seater cab provided by Shangri-La for MYR150 but as they were fully booked, we ended up taking the 10-seater cab at the public taxi stand for MYR148 instead (we found out on our last day that the former is more comfortable).

Left: Pay at this airport taxi counter for public taxis
Right: Enquire at the Shangri-La counter for taxi directly to Shangri-La and Golden Sands Resort
10 seater taxi
More than enough space for our family of 5+1,
although the ride was so bumpy that we had trouble feeding my Baby Boy

It took us approximately 45 minutes before we arrived at Golden Sands Resort, a family-friendly resort that has won several awards such as the Excellence Award for Best Family Stay in the Best of Malaysia Awards 2013 by Expatriate Lifestyle and Best Hotel Services for 4 Star Resort in the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2012/2013 by Tourism Malaysia.

Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La
(Address: Batu Feringgi Beach, Pulau Pinang, 11100, Malaysia)
At the grand entrance

We were directed to the special counters for families located at the Cool Lounge to check-in.

Chairs to sit on while waiting for the staff to complete the necessary admin
Cool lounge;
for waiting in air-conditioned comfort
Quick family photo taken by the mum-in-law while we were waiting

After checking in, the manager gave us a tour of the hotel and its facilities. I was impressed that the hotel provided baby-friendly services such as:

1) Baby cot and mattress
2) Baby bottle sterilisation service
3) Babysitting services (with at least 24 hours notice)
4) Baby stroller for rent
5) Diaper-changing areas (ask staff for locations)
6) Breast milk storage service at the Front Office
(perfect for lactating mums travelling without baby!)

Exterior of Golden Sands Resort

For kids aged 5 to 12 years old, there are lots of fun activities to keep them entertained from 9.30am - 9pm at the Cool Zone Kids Club located on the Mezzanine Level of Adventure Zone. Adventure Zone is a large indoor playground that is a child's fantasy (more details to be shared tomorrow).

We were excited to explore our Executive Suite at the highest floor of the hotel.

Entryway into our room
Left: To the left of the entryway is the master room with toilet and balcony
Right: To the right of the entryway is the living room and even bigger balcony!
(Just imagine how large the suite is!)
The beautifully decorated master suite
Spacious study table and balcony
(If you draw the curtains, you can wake up to amazing beach views every morning!)
More than enough universal plugs to charge your phones or get you connected to the internet
(there are lan cables in the drawers if you've brought your laptop and FREE WIFI everwhere in the hotel!)
The toilet beside the master bedroom
Full range of Shangri-La toiletries including mouthwash!
The spacious living room with its own toilet and a murphy bed that can be used for additional family members;
(There are limited rooms with murphy beds so do make your request for it early)
Complimentary fruits
Complimentary tea leaves
(These are replenished every morning!)
We also booked an adjacent Seaview Executive Room, which had a connecting door to the suite,
for my mum-in-law and girl
(My mum-in-law was elated that she doesn't have to share a room with the brother-in-law,
who slept on the murphy bed next door)
Baby Cot with doors that can be lowered for ease of placing baby in and out
Large balcony with lounge chairs and amazing views of Batu Feringgi Beach
Watching the clouds, hearing the waves and feeling the wind in our hair
Our room overlooks the lagoon-shaped swimming pool below

The pool looked extremely inviting so we all changed into our swim gear and headed down for a swim.

I like that the pool had this big blue shelter, which protected us from the rain and sunshine
Our family of four!
There's also a large water slide but alas,
it was for kids only (no adults) :(
She looks happy in this photo but it actually took A LOT of coaxing before she was willing to go down this slide alone
(And when she did, she didn't want to stop!)
Baby Boy having a blast at the base of the water slide while we coaxed the sister to give the slide a try
(Soon it'll be you baby)

All the pools (except for the jacuzzi) are manned by life guards so you can rest assured that everyone is well taken care of at the pool.

We were super hungry after our swim so we walked for about 5-10 minutes to the nearby Kafe Long Beach hawker centre for some cheap and good Penang food!

Kafe Long Beach
Wan Tan Mee
Clockwise from top left: Fried Black Hokkien Mee (my girl's favourite!);
Oyster Omelette (nothing to rave about) BBQ sotong; Fried prawns with onions (delicious!)
Traditional Penang Bak Kut Teh
Full of ingredients, very value for money =)

After a very full meal (we even took away some for supper!), the mum-in-law and I roamed the night markets while the rest of the family went back to the hotel.

Stalls of the night market lined the streets just outside of Golden Sands Resort

We didn't buy much but it was fun to walk around anyway. It was an awesome first day in Penang! =)

Continue to >> Penang Day 2: Adventure Zone & Swimming


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Penang, Malaysia 
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)


Disclosure: Complimentary accommodation for 2 nights at the Executive Suite (we paid for the Executive Seaview room) at the Golden Sands Resort was received from Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd. for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.
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