Famous for its street food culture and street art, the city of Penang is no stranger to us. But few people know about the unhurried town of Alor Setar, Kedah, just 1 hour 30 minute drive from Penang. And neither did I… this gem exists under the radar and is honestly under-appreciated, if you ask me now!
The Grand Alora Hotel towers over its surrounding neighbourhood comprising rows of shophouses, standing tall as an emblem of luxury. As soon as I exited my Grab ride, the earnest doorman rushed to greet me, and politely offered to manage my luggages. The main entrance gave way to a wide lobby, awash in natural light, a light piped fragrance lingering in the air. The approachable receptionist promptly greeted me and in no time, we were swiftly checked in.
My Deluxe twin sharing room was located on Level 16, the Executive Floor, which was also the highest floor of the hotel complex. A platter of seasonal fruit greeted us upon arrival and we were pleasantly surprised with the spacious room, which left me plenty of space for open (and messy) luggages for the next few days. The elevated beds and sparkling white sheets promised a great night’s rest. I couldn’t wait! As I peeled back curtains, I was presented with an unobstructed, panoramic view of farmland and low-lying terrace houses.
The bathroom is clean and well-maintained, and offered a comprehensive range of amenities including body wash, shampoo and conditioner from C.O. Bigelow, adding a special touch of New York sophistication to this chic urban hotel. The water pressure from the shower head and toilet flush was strong – something I never take for granted when I travel, till today!
There are four restaurants at Grand Alora Hotel – Dao Sheng, Alora Lounge and Lengkuas Restaurant. Lengkuas restaurant is a buffet-styled restaurant offering a wide selection of international and local specials including Nasi Lemak, sambal and local kuih. During the busy morning breakfast service, the live food stations were teeming with action – fresh hot waffles, eggs done to your liking, and a noodle station where you can cook your own food – I’m always down for some hands-on, interactive ‘play’!
Other facilities include a swimming pool and a fully-fitted gym, both located on the same level for your convenience. During my visit, the swimming pool was teeming with action, set against the beautiful backdrop of the coloured sky. The gym is located on the same level, just across the corridor from the pool, and is fitted out with very fitness machine you require for a good workout.
Opposite the Grand Alora Hotel is a large mall with a hypermarket, TESCO! Items on sale here include clothes and groceries and in relation to the big cities like Kuala Lumpur, the prices here are far more affordable.
Within a minute’s walk from the hotel, you’ll find a snooker club, Chinese restaurants, pharma store, dessert shop and steamboat BBQ joints, amongst others. I chanced upon a discount store 2 minutes’ walk from the hotel where they sold a large variety of items from household goods to children’s stationery – at a steal! There is also a ‘pop-up’ roadside hawker food action in the evening where you can dig in to authentic local staples like paratha and nasi goreng. I even spotted hotel staff dining here!
Grand Alora Hotel showed me a different world lying on the periphery of the populous, big cities. Here you’ll discover the same great hospitality and an oasis for a good rest and recharge without the throng of crowds and hurried pace characteristic of popular destinations.
GRAND ALORA HOTEL