E & O Residences Kuala Lumpur (Serviced Apartment Review)

We are not F1 fans, so we decided to go to KL this past weekend.

I spent a number of years working in various front office positions in college and grad school for Sheraton and Omni hotels.  In the early years of our marriage Ravi and I traveled frequently, something Elanor’s birth didn’t stop.  To say that I’m picky about hotels is a huge understatement.

Five years ago what I wanted out of a property was easy–a big comfy King sized bed and a 24 hour room service in a central part of the city.

These days when the entire family travels it’s a bit more complicated.  I need somewhere for everyone to sleep, and specifically the kids need to be in a space where we won’t wake them after bedtime.  Sure they’ll go to bed later than normal, but we’ll still be up even later.  In five to eight years, we’ll just get adjoining hotel rooms.  At the moment though, given that the girls are still young, it’s become easiest to stay in serviced apartments or suites with a kitchen.  This allows me to feed people on our various schedules and gives us the kind of space that makes us happier.

On our trip to KL, we chose the E & O residences, which had highly favorable ratings on travelocity.

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It’s a very nice property.  Clean, well maintained, polite staff.  Beautiful rooms–far nicer than what my apartment looks like at the moment with the couch that my cats have scratched and my kids have colored on, and the pile of toys over there and so forth.

At first glance it’s almost dazzling.  The two bedroom (which is what we chose) is massive.  Two bedrooms, an office, the living room/dining room/kitchen, and two and half bathrooms.  I could write sonnets about the master bathroom.

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But over the course of a few days, I did have some complaints

For me, and my bad back, the beds were MUCH too hard.  It was like sleeping on a board, and by the time we came home on Monday, three nights of sleeping on that meant I needed pain medication and a day of rest to move without pain.  But this is a highly individual thing, and people want very different things out of a bed.  I’ve found as a whole that Asian hotels tend to have harder beds than their American counterparts, even when they are part of the same US based chain.

My real issue was that in a serviced apartment, the amenities were stingy

  • There is no broom or vacuum to clean up after yourself.  I had to leave a LOT of crumbs for the cleaning service.  While yes, they are marketed (I’m sure) more to a business traveler, I know that they too might need to occasionally sweep.
  • The cookware was abysmal and lacked so many basic items.  There was no measuring cup.  There was no wooden spoon.  The only thing provided to clean your dishes with involved a hard scrubber that had long since removed any non-stick of the pans which was exacerbated by metal cookware.  So while they technically give you a kitchen, you are then at a loss to do anything with it.  I eventually went out and bought several items so I could cook basics–nothing complicated like I would make at home–simple things like pancakes or scrambled eggs.
  • They provide tissues and toilet paper but no paper towels.  Again, if you are providing me with a kitchen, you might put out a roll of paper towels as a basic courtesy.
  • There is a washer and dryer but no soap.

These are probably minor issues for people who are staying for weeks at a time.  But for your casual guests, like us, it renders these benefits of serviced apartments useless.

Based on the Hilton’s Homewood Suites brand and various New Zealand properties where we traveled for almost three weeks last year staying in at least 4 different serviced apartments, these are actual oversights.  Sure, the non stick of the pan is up for debate at any property, but paper towels, small packets of laundry soap and so forth are all typically in the apartment.  Or you should be able to buy them on site, which you can’t.  There is nothing on site, and the nearest convenience store is small and poorly stocked.  I had to do a late evening trip to the Cold Storage at the Petronas Twin Towers after a long day of travel so that we could get through the morning.

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That said, I did really like the property.  The pool was great fun.  We didn’t make it there but they also have a playground, making a great property for parents with kids.  We didn’t try walking anywhere with them as there was construction next door and the subway was a distance that we weren’t comfortable having Rhiannon tackle.  However, the concierge always got us taxis with only a brief wait (or no wait–there is often at least one sitting there waiting for passengers).  The girls enjoyed their room (minus Rhi falling out of her single bed–she has a double at home and isn’t used to such a small space).

The air con was a bit weak, but the overhead fans made up for it for the most part.

I’d definitely recommend them as long as you aren’t planning on using the kitchen, or are willing to bring your own cookware or stock up in order to use theirs.  In what would be a 4/5 stars from me, that knocks it down to a 3/5* property.

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