My husband, my daughter, a friend and I booked this hotel as part of a short break to Penang. As part of this break we thought we would like a visit to the Cameron Highlands. We booked the hotel by telephone which was fine. We obviously had to provide them with our credit card details to secure the room but I was told, on booking, that if we didn’t turn up we were still liable for payment. This was fine as there was no other accommodation available in the Cameron Highlands because it was the Deepavali weekend.
En route to the Bala’s we got stuck in some heavy traffic jam just outside of Brinching which held us up for over an hour. A member of Bala’s staff called us to see if we still needed the room. We told them yes and explained that we were stuck in heavy traffic and would be there shortly. We actually ended up getting there at around 5pm. We checked in and were told that we had to pay for our rooms in advance, which we did. We enquired about tea and scones and was told by one member of staff that there were no more scones but tea was available.
We were shown to our rooms, which were on the second floor. In both rooms even though the windows in the bathroom and the main bedroom were flung open the rooms smelt very bad. They were dark (even with the lights on), badly furnished (very old shabby furniture), one bath towel per guest (no hand towels or bath mat), no tea/ coffee making facilities, no drinking water available and the rooms smelt musty with damp carpets and beds, even the toilet paper was damp!! The musty smell was choking and almost ammoniacal!
My husband then went to the reception to enquire about some tea for the four of us. He was told that there was no tea available and we would have to wait until dinnertime (some two hours away) before getting a drink as all staff were preoccupied with preparing dinner! Considering that we were in the middle of Malaysia’s tea-growing area and the fact that it had taken us 5 hours to get to the hotel we were looking forward to a cup of this famous tea that the Bala had pasted on their website. I then went down to enquire about a flask of hot water and tea bags (as mentioned in their room information sheet) which should have been available for all rooms without tea/ coffee making facilities. I was told that tea had finished and they could not do this. While I was chatting to the gentleman another gentlemen came up and spoke to him in Malay presumably asking what I wanted. This gentleman said that there were no more scones but he would get some tea for us which we could have out on the patio area. This seemed OK.
After showers and a change of clothes we headed out to dinner in Tana Rata.
On return to our rooms at Bala we found that the smell had not improved and the dampness was still present – added to which the bed in my daughter and her friend’s room was so old that the mattress had worn away leaving bare springs to lie on! The bed in my husband and my room was marginally better but on getting into bed it felt damp and the musty smell was quite unbearable! I was scared to move in bed in case I disturbed the dust and the mould spores! Needless to say I did not sleep! I actually contemplated leaving that very night!
The following morning I discovered that the dampness in my daughter’s bed and the horrid smell of it had forced her and her friend to sleep in our rental car! Needless to say we were all up at 7am the following morning. We decided that we were going to skip breakfast and just have coffee and head back home – I did not want to give any more money to Bala’s than was absolutely necessary! At 7.40am I tried to get some coffee for us but was told that the restaurant had not yet opened - yet it clearly states on the guest sheet that the restaurant is open for breakfast from 7.30am. I returned at 7.50am and was told that they had no one to make the coffee and bring it out to us on the patio as they were preparing breakfast! I said that I would take it out and return it afterwards. I was told to call back in ten minutes! I returned at 8.15am and collected the tray. We enjoyed our coffee in the lovely surroundings but could not wait to leave to get back home for a good night's sleep and a clean flat!
On checking out my daughter complained about their room and was told by Mr Bala that he had never received any complaints about any of the accommodation at the hotel and basically it was tough luck! She insisted that they offered her a discount as they had not actually slept in their bed! He said he was only prepared to offer 30% but she managed to persuade him that 50% would be more appropriate!
This has to be the very worst hotel I have ever stayed in and I would be recommending to all my friends, family and work colleagues that they avoid it at all costs! The staff were rude and extremely unhelpful. Whatever happened to the statement that ‘the customer’s always right?’ If Bala is having problems living up to their website sales promises I suggest they invest in extra staff who are better trained and polite!
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- Also Known As:
- Bala`s Holiday Chalet Hotel Cameron Highlands
- Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant Cameron Highlands/Tanah Rata