The trip was okay. At least the trial proceeded. More about that later.
I left Kuala Lumpur at approximately 3.15pm and headed straight for the KL-Ampang Elevated Highway. I have always enjoyed using this highway as traffic is light. The highway leads me to the Middle Ring Road which joins the Karak Highway. I was at the Karak toll booth (KL side) at 3.40pm.
I used the new East Coast Highway to get to Kuantan. This highway is connected to the Karak Highway and it by-passes the Karak town. It is very light on traffic and has mostly straight stretches. At Karak, you will be greeted by a toll booth (toll booths are not an uncommon sight in Malaysia) and you will be given a toll card.
This is the first time I come across a toll card which is like a credit card. Not of the paper type. Anyway, the card has some useful information such as interchanges along the highway as well as emergency telephone lines. The card also highlights interesting parts of the highway.
On my way to Kuantan, the card highlighted the Sungai Pahang bridge whilst on my way back, the card given to me highlighted the Temerloh R&R stop.
I did come across the Sungai Pahang bridge which is located just before the Temerloh R&R stop (if you are coming from Kuala Lumpur). Nothing spectacular but the number of lamp posts along the bridge makes me ponder how much was spent. There were no less than 30 lamp posts spanning each side of the bridge which measures not more than 400 metres. Frankly, I don't appreciate the beauty of it at all.
Anyway, as I travelled further, I came across the Gambang Interchange. What surprised me was this exit also takes you to Segamat in Johor! More surprises to come later.
I paid RM19.60 for the use of the East Coast Highway. I think it is quite reasonable considering that it is a much safer option than to use the trunk road where many heavy vehicles ply. Having exited at the Kuantan interchange, I have to drive another 15 km or so to reach Kuantan town.
I then saw this signboard.
I reached Kuantan at 6.15pm. That's 3 hours' drive with a short 10 minutes stop at the Temerloh R&R. I quickly found myself at Vistana Hotel located along Jalan Teluk Sisek. Jalan Teluk Sisek takes you to Teluk Cempedak, the famed beach in Kuantan where Hyatt Regency is located.
Anyway, check-in was quite a breeze but the receptionist kept calling me by my middle name rather than my surname. Not once but 3 times. The keycard system was not working at that time and one supervisor brought me to the room with a special card to open the door.
The room decor is minimalist and zen-styled. In other words, clean lines everywhere. Not a single picture frame in sight. Which is fine with me considering some ugly looking pictures I have seen in some hotel rooms. The decor is mainly light beech coloured and the colour scheme is pleasing to the eye.
The room comes with one king-sized bed and one day bed. The day bed is useful for reading, as I found out that night when I was reading my files. Why was I using it? Well, the table lamp was not working, that's why. I could not be bothered to get the housekeeping to sort it out.
The reading desk is actually a long piece of table which also double up as a television cabinet. You get your usual selected Astro channels with terrestrial channels here. The only stationery you get is a note pad (probably 5 sheets) and a ball pen. No envelopes and such.
You do get a box of matches with ash-tray though. But I wonder....I requested for a non-smoking room and yet, they give this smoking facility???
There is the usual complimentary coffee and tea and yes, the electric kettle is working well. No unsightly calcium deposits on the heating element. The minibar is only stocked with a couple of cans of soft drinks.
An electronic mini-safe is available for guests in case they decide to bring their family heirloom with them on their travels. Clothes hangers are ample and sufficient and you are also provided with a shoe mitt to polish your shoes before that important meeting or before attending Court. Ha!
Oh yes, I must not forget the bathroom. Now, the bathroom has always been one of the places a guest checks out upon checking in. First impression matters. It is always nice to be using a pleasantly looking, functional and luxuriously stocked bathroom. Vistana did reasonably well.
You get to use a modern styled wash basin and the taps are working fine...including the shower. I've been to hotels where the shower is nothing but a bigger version of the household tap. Gives you a headache or head massage, whichever way it suits you. Anyway, a hairdryer comes in handy here.
How about the view? No, since this is a hotel located in town, you don't get the view of the beach. I was staying on the second floor and what I had was this.
Would I come back to stay at Vistana Hotel, Kuantan? Definitely. The room is much better in cleanliness and comfort compared to M.S. Garden Hotel. It could do with some improvements such as using feathered pillows (instead of fibrefill pillows) and having face towels available. Oh yes, the buffet breakfast needs a real revamp.
As for my trial, it was a long wait till 4.20pm before my case was called up. We only proceeded with one witness and the matter is fixed for continued trial in March 2007.
Such is the life of a litigation lawyer.