Extra Photo Gallery: Resort Lobby | Lakefront Chalets | Chalet Room | Beach Lagoon | F&B Outlets | Zen Spa | MINES Lake
Palace Beach & Spa is located in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. The resort lies within the massive development of Mines Resort City which major components include a shopping mall, water canal system, service apartments, office suites, world-class golf course and others. As for driving direction, the resort is directly accessible from the BESRAYA Highway linking Sungai Besi, Salak Selatan, Seri Kembangan, Sri Serdang and Putrajaya. Look up for the highway exit to Balakong / Cheras / Kajang and make a left turn right after passing the length of Mines Shopping Centre. From here, there should be ample signage to direct you to the resort which located adjacent to the shopping mall and the MINES International Exhibition Centre (MIEC). Alternatively, the resort is also accessible from the Grand Saga Highway linking Cheras and Kajang. The highway exit for this one is at 11th Mile Cheras town which will connect to The Mines.
Generally, Seri Kembangan is located some 30 minutes to the south of downtown Kuala Lumpur or a mere 15 minutes to the north of Putrajaya. The nearest railway access for KTM Komuter is at Serdang station from which one can hire a taxi to get to the resort. As for STAR LRT services, one can disembark at either Sungai Besi, Sri Petaling or Bukit Jalil stations and get a taxi service to ferry you here.
Developed by Country Heights Holdings Berhad, Palace Beach & Spa together with Palace of the Golden Horses form two of the seven wonders in the MINES Resort City as often cited by the property and leisure group. Country Heights itself was a darling in the property development industry of the 90s before the financial meltdown of 1997 took the company with it. Today, the resort city development stands as it is but still a far cry from what it was destined to be. Formerly known as Mines Beach Resort and well-advertised for its man-made beach, it has since been renamed as Palace Beach & Spa and yet still lies in its run-down state.
The main lobby sits on top of a hill terrain which overlooks the expansive Mines lake. The lobby takes on an open-air setting which is rather impressive with various Asian-inspired artifacts, animal figurines and statues together with high wooden ceiling architecture. The resort main building can be further distinguished by a central section which hosts almost all the guest facilities while a western wing protrudes towards the lake edges. On the eastern side lies the cluster of semi-detached chalets which are just some yards off the lake. Based on the description alone, the resort truly commands a breathtaking natural setting which I have to agree, but in this review, I shall point out some deficiencies which it has to promptly look into.
The resort hosts 131 rooms and suites as well as 47 chalet units. The room categories available are Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Chalet, Lakeview Suite and Royal Suite. In general, each room comes with balcony, coffee and tea making facility, bathroom with bath tub, voicemail-enabled IDD telephone, mini bar, working desk, old model colour TV, electronic safe, hair dryer and others. Some extras are thrown in for the higher room categories such as Chalet, Lakeview Suite and Royal Suite. This review is catered the Chalet room which was done in August 2007.
As I reckon that the Standard, Superior and Deluxe rooms at the resort are of unimpressive state, I book myself into a Chalet room with expectations that the resort is able to showcase some opulence in its higher room categories to the very least. Much to my disappointment, the Chalet room fails to live up to my expectations. While the settings amidst lush greenery and partial views of the lake are the natural advantages, the general upkeep of the Chalet building is found wanting. In fact, there are noticeable cracks on the external wall at the room entrance which by all means are not a good indication. The room arrangement is actually quite decent if things were done properly. The front door opens into an L-shape dry kitchenette where some cutleries and utensils can be placed for long-staying guests. No kitchen stove is provided for cooking which is probably a good thing. The flooring throughout is done with timber strips which adds some class elements to the room ambience, if nothing else. My major beef is with the king-bedding which is clad with unappealing brownish-grey sheets. Perhaps the resort management needs to take a look at how new-age bedding setup is done today. In fact, leaving the bed with simple white cover sheets gives it a much better look based on my own experimentation. Facing the king-size bed is a TV cabinet which comes with super-outdated black-box television which I intend to forget its existence. The two end corners of the room are fitted with a writing desk and a cushion chair respectively. A sliding glass door opens into a spacious balcony. Here lies another testament of a poor maintenance; the wooden rails at the balcony are not firmly secured and can easily give way should somebody decides to lean against them. Also, depending on which Chalet room you are assigned to, the balcony commands a full vista of the lake, or as in my case, the room faces mostly the other lakefront Chalet units. The bathroom is of a decent size but with outdated design of pale-coloured tiles, plain-white porcelains and plastic shower curtain. Overall, the room leaves a lot to be desired (hint: better maintenance and full-blown renovation) and I reckon of similar impressions if I were to stay in the lower room categories.
Now the answer to the most important question: Why is it called Palace Beach & Spa or formerly MINES Beach Resort? I believe the official catch phrase of the resort is “The only Beach in the City” which supposedly is the feature attraction. Indeed, the resort hosts a man-made beach lagoon adjacent to the lake, but truth be told, I would not dip myself into the water. In fact, I did not see a single patron swimming in it. While I am quite sure the water taken from the lake undergoes some sort of filtration before being kept under retention, the stench coming from the adjacent canal system was enough to put people off the water. The beach itself is covered with white sands while a number of sunning beds and umbrellas are arranged to face the lake. A great setup if things are done correctly but as it was the case with Palace Beach & Spa, things went awry and defeated the purpose of having such feature attraction in the first place.
Enough of the beach that was not, guest facilities and services are typical of any hotels or resorts. On the main lobby lies the business centre which opens from 0900- 1700 hrs. Right at the beach is a watersports centre where various water-based activities such as waterskiing, boating, canoeing, wakeboarding and beach volleyball can be arranged. For massages, foot reflexology, facial and body treatments, Zen Spa on Level 3 is catered for that. Zen Spa is also equipped with jacuzzi, hot and cold pools, sauna and steam rooms as well as a reading lounge. There are quite a number of meeting and banqueting facilities spread across Level 2, 3 and 4 of the main building. Parameswara Ballroom can fit in up to 300 guests and can also be divided into two smaller ones of equal partition. The largest function area is at Hang Li Po Room on Level 4 which can accommodate up to 350 guests. There are also a number of smaller meeting rooms on Level 2 and 3.
There are four F&B outlets at the resort of varying food themes. The main all-day dining outlet is Abdul & Charlie’s Restaurant located just yards away from the beach. It features an exquisite thatched-roof architecture perhaps to capitalise on the tropical beach setting. Cheng Ho Court on Level 3 is a Chinese restaurant specialises in ‘halal’ Cantonese cuisines as well as dim sum offerings. It opens for lunch and dinner on weekdays while brunch is offered on weekends. Located between the lake and the beach lagoon is Beach Hut which is more of an outdoor BBQ outlet type. Finally, on the main lobby is Sunset Lounge which as the name implies, is the perfect place to view the golden sunsets over the lake. As a side note, the sunsets can best be described as breathtaking when viewed from the resort, hence do make a point to be at the main lobby or down by the beach to try your luck.
Utter disappointment. A rather impressive lobby design is marred by poor overall maintenance and outdated room arrangements. I reserve further comment(s) on “the beach” at the resort.