There are so many malls in Kuala Lumpur and one of the newer mall which I visited is Fahrenheit 88 located at Bukit Bintang. The easy way to travel to Bukit Bintang shopping area is to take the Monorail and alight at the Bukit Bintang LRT station. From there, you can walk and shop along the stretch of road line up with shopping malls. Compared to Lot 10 shopping mall ( an older mall ) which is just beside Fahrenheit 88; this new mall has a clean, bright and sleek image. The anchor tenant for this new mall is UNIQLO which is the famous Japanese company that produces clothes for the young and trendy. It occupy a large area in this mall and personally I liked the window display of this store.
I visited Fahrenheit 88 on a weekday afternoon and my first impression was that it was relatively quiet. At that time there were only few customers browsing and walking in the mall. On the same afternoon, I also visited the Pavillion Mall nearby; and it was crowded with people. So I wonder how are the tenants in the Fahrenheit 88 mall are able to sustain their retail operations if it is going to be so quiet there. Fahrenheit 88 is not big in size unlike the Pavillion Mall but it has 8 levels of shopping floors for shoppers to walk and browse. I like the spacious layout of this mall and the retail stores there have dressed up their stores quite attractively. I also noticed that many of the F & B outlets are located at the far end of each floor – so they are rather hidden in view unless you walked further in. Many of these F & B outlets were also having a quiet day with very few diners.
I felt that Fahrenheit 88 is a nice mall to visit but it lack a certain vibrancy and energy of the successful mall – such as Pavillion mall. It would be good if Fahrenheit 88 could pulled in more big anchor tenants to attract the shoppers. Personally I would liked to see a supermarket there. Currently I buy my groceries at Pavillion which has a supermarket at the basement level, whenever I stayed in hotel or serviced apartment in Bukit Bintang; and I wouldn’t mind an alternative place to buy my groceries. It would also be good if there a fast food chain such as KFC, Macdonald or Pizza Hut in Fahrenheit 88 mall. I am quite tired of seeing sushi restaurants and coffee joints; because sometimes what I want to eat is just a good old burger or pizza.
Instead of the conventional hotel which I normally stay when I am in Kuala Lumpur, I have decided to stay in a service apartment hotel during my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur (KL). There are quite a number of serviced apartments available in Kuala Lumpur and choosing the right one to stay will depend on your budget and personal requirements. After going through a list of serviced apartments available in KL, I decided to stay in Somerset Ampang which is situated in the famous embassy row. The Somerset Ampang is a relatively new serviced apartment and some taxi drivers may not be familiar with this hotel. If that is the case, you can tell the taxi driver that to drive you to Menara HSC Medical Center in Ampang. You see, the hotel is sharing the same building with the Menara HSC Medical Center. There are two separate main entrance – one for the hotel and one for the Medical Center.
The main lobby of the Somerset Ampang is simple and yet practical in layout. Check in was quick and easy. I was given 2 credit card keys which I need to use it for access to my floor on the elevator and as well as for my room. I booked the one bed room apartment and was given the 9th floor. The size of the living room and the dinning area was quite spacious. There was a small sofa, a LCD TV, home entertainment system and best of all, a large window where I could looked out and enjoy a good view. The dinning area was small consisting of a table and four chairs and next to it was the small kitchen. I liked the kitchen because there was a full size fridge and a Electrolux washing machine cum dryer. There was even a compact microwave oven, kettle and full kitchen utensils.
The bathroom was spacious and clean and the best part was that I could actually take a shower in the shower area or soak in the tub while enjoying a clear view of the park and surrounding buildings. There is a full glass window next to the bath tub and you can have a good bird eye view of the park and the activities outside. For those who are more modest, there is a screen which you could lower to cover the window. For me, it was great to be naked and having a refreshing shower; while at the same time enjoying a beautiful scenic view. The bedroom was rather compact in size and there was another LCD TV on the table. The great thing about the bedroom was – a built in walk in wardrobe. When I walked into the wardrobe, I saw an iron, a small safe, an ironing board, drawers and of course the wardrobe. Overall I was happy with the bedroom.
There was one thing that was not quite right and that was the presence of small flies in the room and bathroom. It seems to be flying around the apartment and I wasn’t sure how the small flies came into the room – was it from the air-con duct or during the time when the housekeeping team came in to clean up my room. When the housekeeper came in to clean up my room, the main door was opened and perhaps that was how the flies came in. Anyway, I slapped it with the newspaper that was provided free whenever I saw it.
For those who loved to cook, the apartment had a fully equipped kitchen that was functional and easy to use. I did not cook during my stay there; nor do I have the time to bring in food from outside and eat at the dinning area. To me, the dinning table was a great place to do my work – so it became my working table. The morning breakfast was served in a apartment that was converted into a small cafeteria. The serving and selection of food during breakfast were limited but sufficient for me. If you expect a good variety of food during breakfast, then you would be disappointed. The tables and chairs were those functional types that you see in any food courts in KL.
I loved the swimming pool located at the highest floor of this hotel. I enjoyed swimming in the infinity pool and at the same time I could have a great view of the city, the nearby buildings, the mountains and the roads. Besides the infinity pool was the gym, though it was small in size; I felt that the equipments in the gym were sufficient for a good workout.
Now with regard to the location of Somerset Ampang. It was definitely not 5 minutes walk to Ampang LRT from some of the comments I have read in the internet. Walking to Ampang LRT took approximately 10 minutes. It is the same distance and time if you want to buy some food or stuff from the nearest mall – Ampang Shopping Complex which is just opposite the Ampang LRT. It is a old mall with lots of restaurants but few shops where you really buy nice stuff. For shopping, the nearest mall is Suria KLCC Mall. The best way to get there is to take the train from Ampang LRT and it is only one stop away. Don’t bother to walk there as it is not worth the hassle. The problem with Kuala Lumpur is that there are no proper pedestrian walkways where people can walk safely – which is a shame for a modern city. If you insist on walking to Suria KLCC Mall from Somerset Ampang, it will take about 30 minutes to reach the mall. I tried it once and I find it a hassle – constantly on alert for cars and vehicles on the road.
Overall my stay in Somerset Ampang was nice and comfortable. And yes, I will be coming back to stay here again if I need to stay around Ampang and city area in KL. This place is convenient for those who need to work in the commercial district; but not so convenient for those who are here for shopping in Bintang district like going to the famous Pavilion Mall – which is quite a distance away.