DO NOT VISIT THIS HOTEL - staff stole from and conned us
Spent three nights at this hotel while visiting the Cameron Highlands and had an AWFUL experience that has tainted our whole view of not just the area but it's people, too.
On arrival we were greeted amiably by a young receptionist who largely ignored my girlfriend and directed all of his questions to me, despite all formalities, payment and bookings being in her name. As has been the norm in many hotels and guest houses as we travel around SE Asia, we unquestioningly paid 100 Ringgit (UK£20 approx) deposit for the room key when checking in, in good faith - nothing unusual, we thought.
When the time came to leave, we dutifully returned the key to reception and requested the deposit back. The receptionist - a different one to our check in - rejected this outright and said they don't ask for deposits, rudely and arrogantly arguing with us on the point, again preferring to shrug aside my girlfriend's questions and points, and only address me. With a coach transfer to catch we had no choice but to leave without resolving the issue - it is clear that somewhere along the line, however, we had been wilfully lied to, conned and stolen from by Country Lodge Hotel, either by an unscrupulous young member of staff wanting to pocket some money off the books or - more worryingly - by the wider hotel management in an organised scam.
Whichever it was, we certainly felt targeted and victimised as an easy way of ripping off tourists.
Most of the stay in Brinchang was pretty uneventful - though in broader terms please be aware that if you don't like Chinese cuisine, or Indian for breakfast, then you will struggle for any food options in Brinchang apart from the very expensive (but admittedly very impressive) Smoke House Hotel or KFC. The scenery and tea plantations are an incredible sight to behold so if your time is limited, most definitely prioritise a trip towards the peak of Gunung Brinchang, enjoy the stunning views and marvel at the awesome rolling hillsides full of tea bushes - one part of the experience I can definitely recommend.
While Country Lodge's location is pretty good in respect of seeing the rest of the 'attractions' around Brinchang (note: apart from a hugely enjoyable trek up Jungle Path 1 to Gunung Brinchang, I would only rate most of these as two stars, including the bee farm and Time Tunnel), that is all it has going for it. The hotel is quite close to a mosque so the loudspeaker call to morning prayers - while fascinating and a real taste of local Muslim life - reverberate through the building from 5.30am daily and can be quite a barrier to deep sleep!
In terms of the hotel itself, we were initially fairly happy with its 'quirky' style that seemed like it was straight from the 1950s, and which despite being very tired and gloomy, was comfortable enough. On reflection, I don't think that 'charm' was intentional, and the place hasn't actually been updated once since the mid-twentieth century. The main USP of the 'deluxe' room to which we were upgraded was the fact it 'has a carpet'.
In summary - please think twice before booking at Country Lodge Hotel. We had had a fantastic time in Malaysia throughout our time there, up until this visit which has left us with a sad and bitter taste in the mouth.
Couples - Jul 2, 2016