mardi 30 octobre 2018

DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTELS IN KUALA LUMPUR: WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL TO ME?

I do not remember when my love affair with DT in KL began! I had been visiting KL on a regular basis since 2008, but almost always stayed at my best friend's house in Seri Kembangan. As her living situation changed, I had to look elsewhere in the city for board..and by then I had attained Gold Status on HiltonHonours roll..
Since then I have stayed at this hotel many a times and each time, I had been received with warmth and hospitality beyond the ordinary. I usually spend a lot of time at the Executive Lounge and this time was no exception.
These people at Executive Lounge make the visit to the DT KL hotel much more than a commercial transaction between client and hotelier but more like a visit to friends.
 I will miss S on my next visit as she is going off on maternity leave. Good luck to you dear friend, a wonderful example of hospitality, Malaysian style!
 The two new additions to the staff  had airline experiences, one with SQ and the other with QR and compliment the ambiance of the Executive Club perfectly.
 Sh., who was schooled in France, is efficient and pleasant and affords a warm welcome to her guests. 
M, with a Q in his name, likes to say: I have known you ever since I came to work here in 2014! 
It is the reflection of their supervisor that all of them are pleasant, with good manners and have the service with a smile concept.  I am lucky to be the recipient of the kindness of these people on a regular basis..
See you soon, dear friends.
My visit to DT KL would be incomplete with saying hello to the Concierge, also an old friend, deserving of the fabled keys of the concierge!
This has become my home in KL and I look forward to staying with you on my next visit.. 

Cuba and Malaysia have good relationship and I always find a common ground talking about friendship, hospitality and food that is accorded to me in Malaysia with the Malaysian Ambassador(s) to Cuba.
The new ambassador to Cuba, Dato Rozlan, would be no exception



lundi 29 octobre 2018

KUALA LUMPUR DOUBLE TREE HOTEL BY HILTON: CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST HERE MEANS CUISINE FROM VARIOUS CONTINENTS

Average traveller in the USA has become accustomed to accepting poor service (American Airlines staffed by Grandmas, as described by HE Al-Bakr CEO of Qatar Airways, my favoured airline) or poor quality of food served .(the pathetic breakfast of steamed eggs for breakfast with pots of yoghurt for "continental" breakfast served at the Hilton in Omaha, Nebraska). 
While the rest of the world is galloping forward providing excellent service on the air (Qatar Airways and Singapore airlines, just to mention two), hotels of superior quality, better than the ones they have at their home countries ( Marriott Marquis in Doha and Doubletree by Hilton in KL).  Airline lounges charge you for a drink (Admirals Clubs in Miami/American Airlines) cannot hold a candle to the extraordinary service and luxury of Al Mourjan at Doha where there are sit down restaurants serving champagne, and Cafes where you could order to your hearts delight, all included in the price of your ticket. (Qatar Airways)
This morning I went down to Makan Kitchen at Floor 11 of Doubletree by Hilton at KL, and as usual it was a treat to the eyes and palate. 
Indian
Malay
Chinese 
European
Asian 
Five different sections, multiple waiters, i counted at least 20 people preparing food and many made to order items.
I chose to eat at the Indian Section 
Uthappam
Idli
Dosai
Uppuma 
all to remind myself of my friends in Kerala
then a Roti Kaya which would fil the stomach of an elephant so I couldnt finish it. I was tasting various dishes, so I also tasted the omnipotent malay dish  Nasi Lemak 
Someone was preparing Teh Tahrek (the name of Chai here)
Here are some photos..
I do not advise that you eat it all, but at least should taste small morsels of each.
















(the chinese section)

I fondly thought of my middle brother Eliyahu who is currently holidaying in Bali, with whom I have shared this repast .. also to my younger brother Mordecai holidaying in Sedona with whom I would like to share this (of course with Auntie G!)

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR VISIT TO COCHIN? ASKED THE IMMIGRATION AGENT

After a very pleasant two days in Fort Cochin, I was about to leave Cochin, Kerala in India for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
I handed my passport to the middle aged immigration agent, who was thumbing through the multiple stamps with no particular interest and in no great hurry.
What is the purpose of your visit to Cochin?, he asked.
What shall I say, I wondered for a few seconds, I am here to eat, I told the immigration agent whose face now has turned to a quizzical dullness.
You came to India for two days to eat? Do you not know food in your country?
We do have food in our country but not this tasty, like the Angamally Fish Curry I had at Bristows Bistro.
These officers, despite many years in service, are in an automatic mode and when confronted with an answer they were not expecting, they call the supervisor.
Here comes the supervisor, In the last few months you have been here three times, where do you stay? At the same hotel, Bristows Old Light House Hotel facing the Arabian Sea in Fort Cochin.
I could see that I could have been talking Mandarin to these people, they were puzzled but knew that I was harmless.
He handed me back my passport while the older man still wrinkled his forehead in puzzlement..I will be back in a few days time and I expect to have a good dinner, I reminded him as I entered the Departure Lounge.
Like the republican lawmakers in the USA, they grow older in their conservativeness and become incapable of independent thinking. 
Always choose a younger agent at the Immigration, someone who knows about Internet and applications, so that you wouldnt be asked such mind boggling questions as was asked of me by Kerala Immigration Officers at Cochin International Airport.
Do you have the telephone number of the hotel ? (so that they can enter that information in the space provided regardless of their utility)
No I dont have it.
Then how do you make the reservation at the hotel if you dont have the telephone number?
I refused to answer the question, remained silent.
I felt very happy as I walked past them. I had restrained transparency I thought and showed respect to the agents..
I was not lying.. here is the proof.. in the 48 hours that i spent in Fort Cochin, i had splendid food, in the company of my friends..
Bristow's Bistro
Farmers Cafe
Krishna Cafe
Francis, the cafe at Hotel Niyati
Spice Villa 















samedi 27 octobre 2018

IN THIS LAND OF SPIRITUALITY A SPECIAL SPIRITUAL VISITOR AT BRISTOWS BUNGALOW AT FORT COCHIN

INDIA is the source of both Patanjali and Buddha; of Yoga and Ayurveda.. an immense resource for your soul. In a place like Fort Cochin, one can feel the spiritual ambiance of India, but no one was more surprised when the Manager at Bristow Bungalow called me and said, there is a special visitor!
It was an Eagle, contently resting on top of a large statue of Budha in the grounds, surrounded by the green post monsoon lushness. He seemed to be oblivious of the attention he had drawn and was not afraid of the humans humming around his presence.
To American indians with whom I work, Eagle is very symbolic and represent strength power and purity .. They fly higher than other birds, has an immense sense of sight and discretion about food. Among the Native American Indians, it is the greatest honour to be given an Eagle feather.
I took it as a good sign, an omen, to be able to see an Eagle so close 
When someone offered some cooked vegetables at a distance the Eagle showed no interest, but when the person had a piece of meat in his hands, the Eagle very precisely picked it up.
I wanted to make contact with the Eagle, while praying for my mischpochah, the recent birthday girl, the various Indians in that distant continent and my dear ones in Cuba...
I put a piece of meat on a plate and offered to him and he effortlessly picked it up.
we tried to capture his moods but he was nonchalant and absolutely unafraid.
He seemed to have chosen wisely to rest on top of Buddhas head as if to announce that they are spiritual brothers, for many of us, they are so..





I consider my self extremely fortunate to have witness the presence of the most spiritual of all birds..

FOR A TRAVELLER LOYALTY MATTERS, A TWO WAY STREET: BRISTOW BUNGALOW BY THE SEA IN FORT COCHIN

I  am a  Frequent Traveller and my world is Latin America, North America, Europe, Israel and Asia. 
Whenever I find a hotel or staff, I become attached to them, and go out of the way to see them over and over again.
When it comes to airlines, without doubt Qatar Airways is my airline of choice and there are hotels that I like to stay..
Kuala Lumpur   Double Tree by Hilton at Terra Mark, Tun Abdul Razak St
Malacca  Hotel Equatorial 
Siem Reap  Beyond Yangon 
In Fort Cochin, I recommend Niyati Boutique Hotel where I have stayed countless number of times. But since the arrival of Rajesh Rajan GM and his team, my stays have been made very pleasant at the Bristow Bungalow Hotel, the only hotel facing the sea in Fort Cochin.
 I arrived at COK after a pleasant flight from DOH on QR.
 Whenever I cross this bridge over Periyar River now reduced from its magnificence, I think of the great Chinese Navigator Zheng He who made 4 visits to this area in the 15th century long before Vasco da Gama 
 I was glad that Manolo chose to go through the Container Road and then on to Vypeen and cross the ferry thus giving me a nice view of Fort Cochin as we approached
 The recent catastrophic floods had damaged the seashore as well as the backwaters facing the area, and this destructive and parasitic plants have taken up residence







The GM sent a message to say that the car from the hotel would be waiting for me at the airport, sure enough as I cleared the Immigration and Customs at Cochin International Airport at lightning speed, it was good to see Manolo's face smiling.
One hour later, I was at the door of the hotel, warm welcome from Arvind, in charge while GM was away in Bombay, AnnMarie back from her maternity leave and the genuine warmth of the wait staff, Suresh from Calcutta and SrinNath from Trivandrum.. among others. 
Room no 5 has been reserved and I knew that my loyalty i paid off by their loyalty to me..



Thank you, Muchas Gracias, to all my friends at Bristow Bungalow
Cochin Biennale begins on the 12 December and I expect this charming hotel to be full for its duration. So if you are interested in coming to Cochin at that time, please get in touch with the hotel early
Hope the GM has Room no 5 free for me?