Selamat pagi! I was woken up the calls of nature. Okay, I don’t really mean that I needed the loo but I meant the morning calls from the insects and the natural light from the sunrays penetrating through the glass window.
Opening up my heavy eyelids was the toughest. It took me about 5 or 6 seconds to realize where I was. It isn’t a dream. I was indeed staying at The Empire in Brunei.
Weather looks pretty good today but it’s rather humid. Just like Singapore, Brunei also experienced a plesant equatorial climate with average temperatures ranging from 23 degree celsius to 33 degree celsius.
I was up and early as I couldn’t wait to try the Empire breakfast.
That morning marked the start of our last day here in Brunei. All of us felt that it was really a pity to not have stayed in Brunei for a longer duration of time especially when we get to know that there were a plenty of things to do at The Empire. Do you know that there are several activities organised at the Empire for its guests? On weekdays, they had sports activities like badminton, snorkelling, kayaking,cycling, golf, squash, bowling and water volleyball. They even organised cultural activities like traditional games (Congkak)(one of my favourite past time games!), Sarong tying session,Malay kuek-making session and Teh Tarik demonstration all happening right at the hotel itself. What’s more? They even organised short tours to Jerudong Fish Market and Shahbandar Hill. Sounds fun? I would also think that working at The Empire would be rather cool too! Would you pretty please hire me?
I am always marveled by the European-style interior design of the hotel as well as the objets d’art which adorns the hotel interior whenever I walked into the Main Atrium.
Breakfast Buffet Spread at Atrium Cafe.
Have you encounter the “buffet syndrome” before? Where you just had no idea which food to choose from or what do eat first? Making choices has never been that tough before. But, out of all the pastries, I had to go with croissant! You will never go wrong with un croissant.
I had salad with different types of cheese for breakfast.
Others have cakes and ice-creams as desserts but I would rather have cheese as desserts. I’m one of the craziest cheese fanatics you would have ever met. I could have cheese for every single meal. It’s so fattening but so delicious.
I was approached by one of the waiters to find out if I needed some coffee or tea. I requested for Green Tea which they did not have at hand so I was asked to wait while they head to the kitchen to check. A minute later, another waiter came to ask if I need a beverage. Then 5 minutes later, another waiter came to ask the same question. I did not find that irritating but, in fact, I felt that the service here was indeed of first-class standard. All waiters were trained very well to be observant and polite towards the hotel guests. I was so impressed by their willingness to serve with their hearts.
Hotel Breakfast starts from 6.30 am and ends at 10.30am daily.
Who says you can’t eat clean when travelling?
I was glad that the Atrium cafe served healthier alternatives for those health and fitness junkies. Here, I had plain yoghurt with weetbix, K Special cornflakes and topped it all up with almond flakes, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
From this cafe, you also get to enjoy the spectacular sea view.
The Empire Hotel Inspection Tour
The Empire could be compared to a royal palace. This place is equipped with its own retail arcade,world-class sporting complex, cinema and other leisure and recreational activities.You could spend almost a day or two using all the facilities here in the hotel. One thing for sure, you will never be bored at The Empire because there are so many activities for you to get yourself engaged in.
Check out their extensive list of water sports activities you could do at Marine Centre in the hotel: Banana boat, Cataraman, Flying Fish, Jetskiing, Parasailing, snorkelling, ocean kayak, wakeboarding and wind surfing.
Damn, I wish our stay in Brunei could have extended further!
Shortly, right after breakfast, we went straight with the hotel tour inspection where we get to view the most expensive and grand hotel suites and villas offered at The Empire.
The Empress Suite
The Empress Suite is almost has big as a 3 or 4-room HBD flat in Singapore. It is 345 square metres in area.
Every grand living space should have a grand piano to make your home a true grandeur, even if you knew nuts about quavers and crotchets.
Ahh, now we know that Andy has a talent in striking black and white keys to produce harmonious melodies.
Bedroom at The Empress Suite.
The bedroom is also equipped with a walk-in wardrobe!
A highly recommended dessert boutique cafe here at The Empire.
Tantalising treats such as pastries, cakes, sandwiches and savory treats, confectionery and chocolates could be found here at Zest cafe.
A slice of cake costs about BND4.00. Here in Singapore, a good slice of cake could cost up to SGD7 or 8. If you do the math, the pastries here are way much cheaper than in Singapore.
We took the buggy to the villas.
A night spent at the villas would cost you about BND1000 (or SGD 1000).
There are 3 different types of villas : Ocean (3 bed-rooms) , Garden (2-bedrooms) and Royal villas.
The surrounds right outisde the villa.
The Empire Country Club
It’s not just a normal country club. It’s an award-winning country club in the whole of Asia!
The fitness centre consists of two storeys with state-of-the art gym equippment. Each treadmill machine has its own personalized TV!
There is not only one fitness centre but two! The other fitness centre is meant for the ladies only.
Weight and strength training area.
The gym here is pretty well-equipped with exercising equipment like TRX, Bosu ball and FitBall exercise ball for you to tone up your muscles and strengthen your core. I could spend like hours in this gym playing with all the equipment here. For me, the gym is like a playground where I felt enliven just by using the various equipment here.
Hygiene is of utmost importance in the gym. Thankfully, towels and a bottle of cleaning agent were provided for you sterilise the equipment after each use.
Indoor swimming pool
Gym fitness classes
It’s our last day here in Brunei and it’s a terrible feeling to know that you are leaving such a beautiful place which you have not even discovered and explored fully yet.
A visit to the Ambassador Suite which we told that our President, Dr. Tony Tan was staying in their hotel rooms similar to this.
Asprey bath amenities.
At the Empire, you would notice that there are a lot of symmetries in its design and architecture. Did they consult the Fengshui master when building The Empire? I wonder.
The scenery was too splendid that we just had to pause and take a group photo here.
Private balcony with deck chairs and glass-top tables.
Most of the gold fittings are a 21K gold-plated finish. Let me stress that again – GOLD. Just by staying at The Empire, you felt as if you are a million dollar richer.
Buffet lunch with tourism officers from Brunei Tourism and
the management team from The Empire
Buffet lunch at Atrium Cafe.
Dessert section – from western to traditional sweet treats catered to all.
Cheese platter spotted!
My lunch for the day – salad and cheese.
A variety of traditional Malay kuehs and western pastries like fruit tarts and puddings.
The apple crumble is a must-try dessert if you are dining at the Atrium Cafe.
Coconut and Mango bomb mocktail.
“It’s the bomb!”
What comes next?
Horse-riding at Jerudong
The mere sight of horses often triggers my childhood memories where I remembered crying frantically for my Mum just because I had to be seated on the back of an animal that smells like manure with flies buzzing around, just all by myself. It’s as if I was going to fall off the horse any moment and get myself hurt. The jerky movements experienced during a horse-ride made me felt unstable and wobbly on the horses’ back. I am sorry, Horsey, but I never like sitting on your back!
But these days, I have been starting to cultivate a liking for riding horses but for me, it’s never easy as I realise that I can’t really put my trust into others easily, what’s more, an animal like the horse. The worst case scenarios would also be playing on my mind and the reset button doesn’t go off the moment I am on the saddle. Falling off a horse was the last thing I ever want to experience and I certainly wouldn’t want to end my life during a horse-riding session.
I gave this horse a pretty name – Cowley Mooley Horse. It said ‘Moo!’
Whenever I’m on the horse, I always felt the exhaustion and weariness of the horse. It’s as if like the horse was thinking out aloud – ” What?!? Another burden on my back. When can I ever get my freedom and roam around in the field freely? “
Are we humans manipulating horses as a mode of transportation?
Anyway, the horse-riding session at Jerudong Polo Club was more of like a relax and leisure activity where the horses were led by the horse stable staff.
A picture of me looking rather apologetic while sitting on cowley-mooley horsey.
So, we spent our next 10 minutes riding pasts the shores, while enjoying the sea view and breeze brushing across our faces. I remembered telling Karen how it felt like leading the Royal life, like Prince or Princesses, spending their leisure time riding on their own horses. And the only place I could ever experience this is probably only in Brunei. This 10 to15 min horse ride costs about BND5 and horseback riding lessons start from BND100 for 4 lessons.
Cowley Mooley Horsey was “emo-ing” in the background. Horses lead tough lives, you know? It has given away its own freedom to Man.
Here’s the stable manager who help us get up the horses.
All good things in life always come to an end.
Mummy, it’s over! NOOOooo!!!
Roasted chicken with potatoes, sliced carrots and green peas.
I had my last low-calorie meal onboard Royal Brunei Airlines before I headed back home. Overall, it was a pleasant flight back to Singapore. At least, there is no major air turbulence which made my heart sank faster than I could breathe!
Read more of my adventures in Brunei here.
With special thanks to Royal Brunei Airlines, as well as Brunei Tourism, Sunshine Borneo Tours and The Empire.