For the past few years, presenting a birthday gift to my beloved Jason no longer takes its physical form, but rather a journey. On a tighter budget this year, retreat within the city it is.
Jason is a fan of raw style; he fascinated by the texture of red brick wall and bare cement wall, especially under the highlight of LED. He literally glowed when we stepped into Sekeping Tenggiri for the first time few months back. Although on a hectic mission to set up the location for ROM (Registration of Marriage) under Sunny Days, I can see that he very much enjoyed the serenity here. So secretly, I have been planning something from then on.
The birthday present made even better when the news of RM100 discount came from AirBnB. Hence paying a mere RM150 got me a Pool View room. When that day arrived (a Friday to be exact), we both took leave from our work and decided to spend a leisure day within the premises. Keeping the staycation details confidential was harder than what I would have thought. I keyed in the street name on GPS and let Jason drove all the way to his birthday gift.
But I could see no surprise on his face. His superb sense of direction and that one-time driving experience there must have given it out. Well, at least he’s excited now.
Once we were there, the caretaker came out and greeted us with a smile. He then showed us our room which was exactly next to the main entrance and facing the pool. The door to our room was of huge ceiling to floor black metal where we pushed outward using both hands. What exposed to our eyes was red brick flooring, greenery growing outward from the left panel, semi-sheltered open air shower space along with Jason’s favorite rain shower head, a cement bench, sink, mirrors, and a flush toilet on my right.
The bathroom arrangement was a problem for me during the stay. First off, there was nothing to cover up the flush toilet; no door, no curtain. Jason also proved that he managed to peek through slits of window blinds on my right. Even easier, just lift off the translucent curtain in front of the glass doors. Also, the mirror arranged in front of the flush toilet making me inescapable from my own sight. One way or another, there was nowhere to hide.
To enter the room, we must pass through the bathroom and also a bi-fold fresh (glass) door. Bulky CRT TV on the left with few DVDs for entertainment, next to it a basic double bed in white sheet (also a few white crisscrossed mending patches) along with white pillows, towels and sarong patterned blanket carefully aligned below a hanging mosquito net; as if I was standing in my late grandma’s room many years back. If the room was as old as my grandma, so was the dust. Dust collected on top of the CRT TV covering the DVD cases and not to mention the filthy hanging mosquito net that we could not even breathe 5 minutes in it. Our stay may not be that frugal after all with an air-conditioner. But we have no idea why only one single-size blanket provided for a double bed.
Indulging self in the pool during the afternoon seems like the right and relaxing thing to do under this hot weather of Malaysia. The water was chilling, as far as my feet could tell. We immersed into the water until its level reached slightly above my chest. It was light and clear while glitters under the sun. None of us swim but we enjoyed the sense of floating, like in a huge bathtub.
Our pleasure did not last long before being interrupted by a pre-wedding photoshooting team; the couple, a photographer and a makeup artist cum assistant. The freelance photographer in me realized that we were blocking the full view and it would be courteous to leave. No matter how reluctant we were as guests, we got up from the swimming pool.
As we took a quick shower, whether we like it or not, we sensed the car drove in and parked at the pebbles just outside the entrance. After all our bathroom is just next to the entrance and it was not fully covered. From their conversation, we figured that it would be another couple came to check on the venue for their wedding day. There is no soundproofing here to begin with. Therefore we need not eavesdropping as every word they spoke was crystal clear.
Then, it was our intention to take an afternoon nap, just to laze around. Such a simple wish has been interfered by the pre-wedding photographer’s voice, instructing the couple to pose. He was not at his full volume but enough to be amplified so, as though he was standing right here in our room. Again, soundproofing is very poor here. In another word, our privacy is on the line.
We went out for early dinner at Bangsar Shopping Center then came back to find the poorly lit house. The few DVDs provided did not serve as our entertainment for the night given the TV odd arrangement facing the window. With nothing to do, we went to bed earlier that night.
Being a heavy sleeper has its own advantage, in this case, an exemption from the midnight chaos. We were not the only guests as there were another two ladies occupying the private courtyard room. We heard their giggles during the day (another poor soundproofing issue) and naively thought that they would behave by night. Which, they have proved us wrong, so wrong.
According to Jason, they were impudent enough to bring back another 4 people and hosted their own party by the pool, got drunk then vomited near the stairs. It went on until 4-5am, until the neighbor came out and questioned them. We understand that we have no right to blame the management for such unforeseen circumstances but the caretaker, was nowhere to be seen. As a result, my poor guy barely sleeps that night.
On the next morning, we could not take another quick shower before checking out. Funny how the semi-sheltered shower space would be weather-dependent, go on a raining season and one can totally scrap that shower off amenities list. Having said so, the private courtyard room has a fully sheltered bathroom, had a peek before we left.
No doubt Sekeping Tenggiri would be a perfect place for pre-wedding photoshooting and wedding day. However constantly being disturbed by pre-wedding photoshooting team, couple coming to check on the house for wedding day, and inconsiderate guests, it is no retreat at all. Given its very poor soundproofing, I could not imagine if it were a fully booked weekend where the noise would be much more than what we experienced. Also, as budget travelers, our requirements were simple; we seek no 5-star comfort, but the below average cleanliness was intolerable.
It is, by far my worst staycation.
While Sekeping Tenggiri is such a disappointment, I am still open to other Sekeping houses.