The day after our reservation, I received an email confirming a complimentary extra bed and a cake for Hubby's birthday. The email also requested for our details, check in time and preferences. I was certainly impressed!
We drove up to Penang early morning after a hearty breakfast. We got in at just before lunch, so we made a pit stop at Warung Kelapa Sawit Juru for our favourite ikan bawal goreng with sambal kicap. *drool* Continued into the island and then directly to the hotel.
As a Golden Circle member (membership is free!) we were invited to check in at the Cool Lounge. The lounge was cool (duh), not just in the temperature sense but also in the facilities provided. Floor to ceiling glass panels, TVs showing Cars 2 and Baymax (I kid you not), computers with complimentary internet access, books and even bean bags! Check in was quick and pleasant, but I was disappointed when they asked for our details again. Why bother emailing when you're not going to have our details on file?
|The Cool Lounge.|
|We dropped Aiden at Kids Club and then explored the grounds of the hotel.|
|Although the beach was clean, the sand was too rough for my liking.|
In general, there are three types of rooms; Executive rooms (seaview but on the upper floors), deluxe rooms (exactly the same as executive seaview rooms but on lower floors) superior rooms (garden view but slight bigger in size). We booked the deluxe seaview room. The room size was adequate for our family of four. Furnishings were slightly dated, but they had a built in push-up bed in the room for the kids, which you could just push upwards when not in use if you needed more space.
|Size of the push-up bed; slightly tight for two.|
|No separate shower so you can only shower in the bathtub.|
|The view from our room balcony.|
We had the choice of two locations for breakfast; either at the coffee house, or by the beach. We did both, and enjoyed both spreads greatly. (The latter had slightly less choices, but it wasn't anything glaringly noticeable.) They even had plastic plates and cutleries for the kids, and a mean dessert spread (with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on the side) which was a nice touch.
|Breakfast by the beach.|
|Spoiled for choices.|
|What a pretty spot for a candlelight dinner for two.|
In a nutshell, I was very happy with our stay. The kids had so much to do, and I'm so glad Golden Sands offered so much more than just the swimming pool and the beach. So here's a rundown on what the kids were up to during the weekend:
The swimming pool
The kids swimming pool had a sail on top of it, shielding the pool from the sun. It meant that kids could frolic all day in the water without being burned to the core. Ian was in the water at various times of the day. We also loved the adult lagoon pool, especially because it was heated. We had lunch once by the pool, and the kueyteow goreng was delicious! Reasonable prices too.
|The hotel also provided life jackets for toddlers and kids.|
|Daily activity schedule.|
If you scoffed at the pool, you haven't seen the Splash Zone. We had so much fun running through the jets of cold mist and waiting for the huge bucket of water to tilt and drench us in its downpour. But the best of all were the slides. Aiden and I raced going down on both slides, just to see who would end up at the end first. Ian on the other hand, hated the slides! *chuckles* One thing that I really appreciated, was the presence of lifeguards. They had lifeguards everywhere - at least two at the slides and one at the kids pool. Definitely gave me the confidence to allow Aiden to go on the slides alone while I attended to Ian.
|Aiden enjoying the cool mist, and then we raced down the slides together.|
I've never seen such a well equipped indoor play area in any other prior hotels we've visited. This one takes the cake! We paid ~RM26 for Aiden to play for two hours (Ian was free as part of the room package, adults free too).They had two indoor gyms - one separate one for the younger children, and the other more challenging one, which was part of the slides. Three different slides to choose from - and I had the courage to only try two. (I nearly chickened out on the blue slide but the staff at the top literally pushed me over before I could disembark!!! *chuckles*) I suggest you start with the beanbag slides, then gradually work your courage to the next two. The red slide was literally a 180 degree vertical drop. No way in hell for me!
|The colourful indoor gym.|
|Even Hubby took the chance to explore the indoor gym.|
|Pick your choice of thrills. Hubby gave the red slide a try and he said it felt like a free fall up until the slide 'catches' you just at the end.|
|The beanbag slides.|
If you want some peace of mind and get the kids out of your hair (and for free too!), there are staff facilitated activities all day long at the Kids Club. The activities are catered for kids between 5-12, and we sent Aiden for an afternoon session. In three hours, he managed to do a cake pop decorating session, and even paint a T-shirt (we had to pay for the shirt). Lunch and dinner also provided for free in between sessions!
|The schedule of daily activities at Kids Club, and Aiden posing with his painted t-shirt.|
Not only can you swing some balls at the driving range, you can also test your child at a proper game of golf without the pressure of another team breathing down your neck to finish the hole. Since the small golf course was mostly deserted, Hubby brought Aiden out for a game of golf! You only need to pay a small sum (RM25?) for the adult and surprisingly they allowed Aiden to play for free. You can play for as long as you want, and there are golf sets you can borrow too. (No gloves for rent so bring your own.) Don't forget to visit the onsight eco centre and their turtle care project just beside the golf course.
|The driving range.|
|Love this shot of the kids - Aiden concentrating to take his shot, and then Ian with his sunglasses, trying to distract his Babang.|
|Ian trying to get a hole in one (not!) and Aiden retrieving his ball in the sand pit.|
We were lucky, because the hotel hosts a snake show on Saturday afternoons! We saw a python, a rattlesnake and two cobras! Not only did we witnessed the snake whisperer kissing the cobra, but he actually placed a snake in his mouth too! During the session, they asked for volunteers to touch the snake. I asked Ian if he wanted to, and surprisingly he walked forward! #impressed. Aiden of course lah penakut habis so he walked out with Ian but refused to touch the snake. *giggles*
|Aiden gesturing no, while Ian looks up willingly to the snake.|
|A python around Ian's neck.|
|Kiss of death.|
|Aiden is definitely Mummy's boy. Dua dua penakut!|
There were plenty of other activities to do on the grounds of the hotel. Other than building sand castles on the beach (no brainer there) we took the opportunity to play beach volleyball (you can borrow the ball from the hotel), football (they have goals on the field beside the golf course), table tennis (three ping pong tables complete with bats and balls) and even chess! We definitely made sure that we tried everything that was offered by the hotel.
|Beach play! Independent operators by the beach provide more adventurous activities such as jet ski, parachute sail, banana boats etc.|
|We played football while still in our swimming gear!|
|Aiden versus Ian.|
The verdict? Definitely returning for a repeat visit. Probably when Ian officially turns 5 so I can send them both to Kids Club so that Hubby and I can take some time off for a massage at the Chi Spa. *drool*