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All About Seaview in Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel

Barely more than 3 years, Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel is the latest addition of 5-star luxury hotel at Sabah's state capital of Kota Kinabalu. Sits on the bustling waterfront which is famed for dining and entertainment options, this hotel consists of more than 300 guest rooms and suites, four dining outlets including a picturesque rooftop bar, a grand ballroom, meeting venues, a spa, gym and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking of South China Sea. 

#1: Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel, the latest addition of 5-star luxury hotel in the city

Last year, my husband and I take turns to treat each other for a short but cozy retreat since we unable to go and travel abroad. My husband happened to stumble upon promo offered by this hotel, and so he decided to book for 2D1N staycation during the Merdaka Day's holiday.

Date Stayed: 31 August - 1 September 2020 (1 Night)
Type of Room: Executive Premier Corner Room with Balcony and Ocean View 
Room Rate: RM370 per night (Booked via Agoda)
Breakfast: Included

If you are driving a car during your stay, you can park on the 6th floor of Oceanus Mall or a public space which both of them located just side by side to the hotel. At that time during our stay, it's free but not sure with now. 

#2: Grand and dramatic looking lobby area

During our check-in process, we didn't have to wait any longer to reach our time as most of the front desks were readily to be served by the friendly staff. The check-in process was pretty fast and smooth and the next thing we know is time to get ready to check out the awesome room assigned to us.

#3

THE ROOM
To my surprise, my husband booked the executive premier corner room with balcony that offer gorgeous seaview instead when initially I thought he just booked a deluxe seaview without a balcony. I was indeed impressed and fascinated with the view looking out from the room. Room wise, I felt it's relatively compact space with a king bed sized, a medium size couch, tea and coffee making facilities with mini fridge and a small round shape desk.  

#4: Executive Premier Corner Room with Balcony and Ocean View 

#5: A happy wife, a happy life

#6: Coffee and tea making facilities 

Apart from the balcony, my favourite area would be the bathroom. Not just that it has bathtub but the way that both shower area and bathtub are being placed which again, facing the seaview. But of course, you need to press a button to let the curtain down before showering, or else you will be doing a free show. 

#6: Bathtub and shower area placed towards the seaview 

#7: Fancy this kind of bathroom 

#8: How I wish I could wake up to this gorgeous panoramic view every morning? 

FACILITIES 
One of the main highlights of Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel would be the outdoor infinity pool. Not just that it offers idyllic view of South China Sea, one can even enjoy the breathtaking golden sunset view from here. By the way, do you know that Kota Kinabalu is listed as one of the Top 10 Cities for Best Sunset View?  
 
#9: Outdoor infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous South China Sea and breathtaking sunset

#10: Gymnasium. It used to open 24 hours but due to government restrictions, I think it only opens for certain hour.  

THE BREAKFAST
As my husband booked the room rate which included along with the breakfast, I have been anticipating for it since the day we checked in. Immediately on the next morning, we woke up early to fill up our empty tummy. The breakfast was served at Kitchen@8 which located on the 8th floor. While some other hotels chosen to serve breakfast in ala carte, luckily this hotel continues to serve their breakfast in buffet style as usual. As that's mean wide selection of food to choose from and their breakfast ain't disappointed at all cause the breakfast spread is significantly extensive. Aside from the typical breakfast such as nasi lemak, roti canai, American breakfast, they even served chicken rice. 

#11: Again, breakfast with a view. 

#12: Wide selection of buffet spread to choose from  

Among all the 5-star international hotel chains I have stayed in Kota Kinabalu city, I can conclude that this is the best one and my most favourite to stay with, particularly for its unrivalled view of South China Sea. Right from the moment we check-in into the room, our eyes were non-stop feasting with this gorgeous view not just from the room, but from the bathroom to swimming pool and even during the breakfast time. Therefore, if you are looking for a hotel in Kota Kinabalu with a stunning sea and sunset view, I would highly recommend this. And if you are planning to stay in this hotel, please go and book the one with a seaview and you will never regret for doing so. The only thing I noticed about this hotel is that it might not suitable for the business traveller as it doesn't have proper working place. Other than that, I can say it's worth every penny you pay for. 

#13: Looking for a hotel with Instagrammable spot? Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel is the one

Distance From Hilton Kota Kinabalu: 
  • Oceanus Waterfront Mall - Just besides the hotel but this mall is pretty empty with almost 90% of them closed. 
  • Centre Point Shopping Mall / KFC / Pizza Hut - 6 minutes of walking
  • Filipino Market - 8 minutes of walking
  • Imago Shopping Mall - 3 minutes of drive / 9 minutes of walking
  • Gaya Street - 4 minutes of drive / 15 minutes of walking
  • Suria Sabah Shopping Mall - 4-5 minutes of drive
  • Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal - 5 minutes of drive
  • Tanjung Aru Beach - 10 minutes of drive
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport - 12 minutes of drive
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2D1N Staycation in Hilton Kota Kinabalu

Last year, my husband and I did few staycations in the city center of Kota Kinabalu when the number of cases were relatively low. You know after stuck at home for an extended of long period, we need a short escape but with little sprinkle of sweet getaway. In addition, there were quite number of local hotels are doing promotions, particularly the international hotel chains which immediately caught our attention. 

As for this post, I will share about our staycation at Hilton Kota Kinabalu.    


Date Stayed: 12 August - 13 August 2020 (1 Night)
Type of Room: King Accessible Room
Room Rate: RM186.73 per night (Booked via Agoda)
Breakfast: Included

Tucked right in the heart of the city center, Hilton Kota Kinabalu is the one and only property of Hilton situated in Sabah. This 5-star luxury hotel consists of 305 different rooms and suites, 4 dining options, functional event ballrooms and also an outdoor pool to cater both of the leisure and business travellers. 

#2

Rest assured when staying with any Hilton's properties during this period cause they will disinfect and sanitize all the rooms and suites before allowing any of their guest to do the check-in. You can spot the blue sticker stick outside the door with the word "Clean Stay".

#3

THE ROOM
Our room was located on the 11th floor, which is the same floor as the outdoor swimming pool as well as the rooftop poolside bar and grill. Decorated in natural tone colour, the room is appointed with a wall-mounted TV, a mini fridge with tea and coffee making facilities, a long working table and stylish couch. As for the size of the room, it's not that spacious but it's sufficient enough for us to place our luggage at one spot and easily for us to move around. And look, they even folded a lovely couple of towel swam on the bed for our anniversary celebration. That so sweet! 

#4

#5

#6

Bathroom wise, this room features a see through window from the bathroom but fret not, cause there's a curtain which you can pull down so that you won't feel shy when taking your bath. I don't know about you but I'm still feeling shy eventhough we're officially married now. There's no bathtub provided for this type of room, but I enjoyed the powerful rain shower on the top. 

#7

#8: Toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn 


ROOFTOP POOL 

Since the outdoor pool is located at the same floor as our room, my husband and I casually went to have a look, though we ain't planning to go for a swim. The pool might not seems large and long, but there are plenty of chairs and sun loungers for the in-house guests to relax or even sunbathing. 

#9: Turquoise colour umbrellas and sun loungers

#10

#11: You can even get awesome view overlooking Kota Kinabalu city from the top floor


ROOFTOP POOLSIDE BAR & GRILL
Before the pandemic time, the breakfast was initially served in Urban Kitchen which was located on the ground floor but then, they moved to the Rooftop Poolside Bar & Grill. And because of that, the breakfast is no longer served in buffet spread and they shifted to ala carte option instead.  

#12: Rooftop Poolside Bar & Grill - This is where they served breakfast, lunch and even dinner during the pandemic time.

#13: Complimentary breakfast served in ala carte during this pandemic crisis

Apart from the breakfast, we even had our dinner there in order to celebrate our anniversary. They do serve lunch too, and from their menu, majority are Western cuisines such as burgers, pastas and pizzas. My husband and I decided to order a bowl of soup and two main dishes. 


#14: Pan Fried Salmon with Soba Noodle - This is dish is just so-so for us 

#15: Chicken Tikka Masala - Not on their menu but turned out to be this is our favourite and we finished everything. 

#16: Always adhere to SOP by wearing the mask all the time, especially when in public area

Overall, my husband and I were indeed enjoyed our staycation eventhough there are few facilities and dining options were closed due to the restriction imposed by the government. We enjoyed sleeping on the comfy bed, the remarkbly clean room and attentive services by the hotel staff. 

However, the one and only downside of this hotel is the view, where all the guests will getting the same city view due the location of the hotel is built exactly in the middle of business district area. If you are someone who is looking for a room with spectacular seaview, then this hotel might not suit your requirement.

[Photo credit to Agoda]


Distance From Hilton Kota Kinabalu: 
  • Welcome Seafood Restaurant (one of the best local seafood in town) - Just behind the hotel
  • Borenos Fried Chicken (our local love this more than KFC) - Also just behind the hotel
  • Centre Point Shopping Mall - 10 minutes of walking
  • Gaya Street - 4 minutes of drive / 13 minutes of walking
  • Imago Shopping Mall - 5 minutes of drive
  • Suria Sabah Shopping Mall - 7 minutes of drive
  • Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal - 8 minutes of drive
  • Tanjung Aru Beach - 11 minutes of drive
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport - 12 minutes of drive
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Stranded in Narvik Because We Missed Our Bus

Sometimes, things don't go as we planned. And this happened during our journey from Sweden to Norway. 


Initially, we're planning to travel to Tromso, Norway by taking train from Abisko to Narvik and from there, continue by bus. Everything has been planned and booked prior to our trip. But what caused us to miss our bus? Not because we're late or overslept but because the train from Abisko to Narvik was delayed for hours. And the worst part, that's the one and only train runs per day. Therefore once we miss the train, directly we will miss the bus to Tromso too. 
 
Oh dear train! Where are you? 

Somehow, my friend and I were expecting this incident to occur cause it's pretty common, especially for those trains in outskirt area. After few hours of waiting, finally the train arrived but we felt pointless, cause by the time we reach Narvik, even the last bus has left and departed to Tromso. And that's mean we have no choice but to book a night stay in Narvik at the very last minute. Luckily for both of us, we do always standby with our debit/credit cards - you know in case of any unforeseen circumstances happened. 

Narvik, a city in northern Norway with a small population of about 14,000 

Overall, Narvik is proportionally small in size. There's nothing much for us to roaming around, except a shopping mall, Amfi Narvik which located right in the middle of the town. We're quite lucky that there are few accommodations available for booking on the spot cause Narvik is not well-known for tourism purposes. In case you have extra budget, you can consider staying at Scandic Narvik but my friend and I opt for the affordable one. 


OUR LAST MINUTE BOOKING OF ACCOMMODATION IN NARVIK
Frankly speaking, this is not my first time of experiencing last minute booking an accommodation in certain city. That's why my friend was kinda surprised to see why I wasn't nervous at all and yet, I was pretty steady when we missed both the train and bus. For me, no point of feeling down and we need to immediately come out with a solution if anything happened. So once we missed our bus, instantly I browsed those booking apps like Agoda, Booking.com and Airbnb. Time waits for no one, you know. 

The one we booked in Narvik was fairly good, especially in terms of location where it's quite close to the bus station. The host was quite accommodate with our last minute booking but at the same time, she was shocked why we did so until we told her what happened to our unfortunate incidents. The property was spacious and consider big for just two of us. I think this place is perfectly fit up to 4 guests. The area I adore much is the kitchen as it's well-equipped with all sorts of appliances. Should grab this opportunity to do homecook but both of us were kinda exhausted. 






Queenstreet Apartment (Unfortunately they're permanently closed due to the pandemic)
Date Stayed: 14 September - 15 September 2016 (1 nights) 

The apartment was utterly cozy and homey while the weather at outside was gloomy and cold due to the rain poured down earlier making both of us lazy to go out. We spent most of our times staying inside the apartment - browsing Facebook and Instagram, transferring photos and planning what to do on the next day. 

Our lunch before departing to Tromso on the following day


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Northern Light Spotting in Abisko



What should I say?
"One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life."
"Another bucket list finally ticked off."

According to the most research I found, the best time to get catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights (or known as Aurora Borealis) is between December to March in the Artic Circle where the night time is longer than the daytime. Hence sighting this spectacle and bright dancing light of the aurora in the month of September, the chances are pretty low. On our first night in Abisko, the luck wasn't on our sight as we can't sight any of the Northern Light.  


Thankfully, we have decided to stay for another night and we met a Taiwanese who has been living in Abisko for few years. He works as a freelancer where he will bring a small group of tourists for Northern light sighting tour. The icing on the sugar, he only charge us €500 - that's like half of the price from what we expected to pay earlier. Too bad I didn't save his contact, or else I could share with you all here (sorry!).  


The tour began around 10pm and we are advised to wear more layers and layers. Besides us, there are few tourists who joined this mini tour; 3 ladies from Taiwan and a guy from Hong Kong. Our freelance tour guide drove us to somewhere out from the city, where it's pitch dark without any lights on the street. We're also given headlight each before reaching a point for us to set up the camera and wait for the northern light to appear. While waiting patiently, we're served with hot warm drinks and some light meals. 

The weather on that night it's freezing cold and all of us were shivering non-stop, until someone shouted that he/she spotted the Northern light. At that moment, all I can say is I was absolutely speechless, my jaw was dropping and I totally forgot how cold was I that night. Spectacular, amazing, mesmerising, beautiful, impressive, astonishing - gosh, countless of these words keep running in my head. I just can't believe that finally I got to witness them myself with my naked eye.   



Thanks Abisko for the unforgettable night, before packing our bags for the next destination on the following day.

Besides Abisko. there are few best places in the world are well-know for great northern light spotting such as Tromso (Norway), Reykjavik (Iceland), Rovaniemi (Finland), Ilulissat (Iceland) and more.  

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The Place I Check-In The Most

Kitchen, it's currently my favourite playground too.

Airplane meal prepared by yours truly. How I miss flying so much?

It's funny before the pandemic time, I don't really into cooking and the number of times I entered the kitchen, can be calculated using all my fingers. My dad used to ask me to go and learn from my mom in the kitchen but I refused to do so. So I guess, this pandemic has completely turned me to become a homecook which I have never expected to be. 

Most of the recipes I searched and learned, either from Google, Youtube, Facebook and even Instagram too. There are few I tried to figure it out on my own. Throughout the pandemic, I experimented all kind of different food, such as our local cuisines like nasi lemak, curry chicken, chicken rice and even other nation cuisines like Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisines. I even tried to bake cake and made desserts for the first time in my life.  

So, now let me show you my homecooked dishes: 

Local Cuisines 

Nasi Kuning and Ayam Masak Merah 

Nasi Lemak and Ayam Masak Merah 

Chicken Rice using my mom's recipe 

Claypot Chicken Rice but using rice cooker - Recipe by Rose from Rose's World

First time cooked curry chicken from scratch, not using instant curry paste and my dad said it's so good

Kolo Mee and Wonton Soup
The noodle bought from market and I mixed all the sauces myself and as for the wonton, I made the filling and wrapped myself.

Meehum Siam and Ayam Goreng Berempah 
Try to replicate the local eatery Nasi Lemak Bamboo

Steamed Cabbage Meat Roll - Recipe by Trendy Gourmet

Creamy Butter Prawn and Chicken
It's my husband's favourite

This is my signature dish - spring roll with curry potatoes as filling 


Japanese Cuisines 
This is my most favourite cuisine to cook with and I will cook like almost every week. Some are pretty simple like Katsu Curry and Oyakadon but there are some required lots of efforts to cook with. Majority of the ingredients I got them from Daiso and for some from Don Don Donki (Shopee)

Katsu Curry (Japanese Curry with Chicken Cutlet) and Tamagoyaki

Cooked for my family and my brothers love it

Teriyaki Chicken Don - using homemade teriyaki sauce

Curry Udon 

Oyakadon (Chicken and Egg Bowl)

Tamagoyaki - this need to practice more

Japanese Night with Gyoza and Edamame 

Ebi Furai (Panko Shrimp) 


Thai Cuisines
Besides Japanese food, I do love Thai food too. Hence, I tried to cook few of Thai cuisines such as Pandan Chicken, Tom Yam Gung and Pineapple Rice. Thai cuisines are indeed required lots of ingredients.  




Korean Cuisines

Dakgangjeong (Sweet Crispy Korean Fried Chicken)
Prefer to use boneless chicken

Budae Jjigae 
Korean Army Stew with instant ramen noodle, kimchi, sliced sausages, canned ham, soft beancurd, chicken, cheese and Korean red chilli paste.   


Others

Cheese Baked Chicken Rice 

Orange Chicken
Inspired from Panda Express, an American fast food restaurant chain 

Hawaii Garlic Shrimp
Inspired from our trip to Hawaii last year

Chicken Chop Mushroom Sauce with Homemade Potato Wedges


Breakfast
The only time I able to prepare and cook breakfast is on weekend and public holiday, cause that's the time where I don't have to go to work.

Hearty breakfast for just the two of us. Bread, egg and baked beans are must.

Bread Omelette - Stumbled upon this from Facebook 

Burrito with Mission Wraps
I came across these mission wraps last year MCO 1.0 and since ever then, I restock like almost every week. I even introduced to my mom and my brothers and they started to love it and we will have burritos for breakfast like once a week. 

Quesadilla 
Another dish using Mission wraps where I filled with cooked minced meat and cheese


Desserts
Because I don't have an oven at my own place, therefore I hardly bake any cakes or bread. I tried to make simple desserts such as jelly, creamy mango pomelo desserts as the following: 

All about mangoes 

Mango Coconut Jelly Cube

Creamy mango, pomelo and dragonfruit dessert (left)
Creamy avocado dessert (right)

Creamy dragonfruit mixed with nuts and pomelo 

Banana cake - I baked this twice but I still not satisfied with it. Baked at my parent's place

Please forgive me for the lengthy post with overloaded photos. Actually I have more to share with you all but I think that should be sufficient now. Of course I don't cook like every single day - it's pretty exhausted you know, from preparing to cooking and even cleaning all the dishes. Sometimes I do take a break by ordering takeaway food. 

So anyone of you here enjoy cooking at home like I do? Do you have any homecook recipes to share with me? I really love to learn more of new recipes. 
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