That is a Workcation series where we personally visit and rate hotels, resorts and more to find out how well they cater to digital nomads and hybrid professionals. Our entire team is fully vaccinated, refreshed and tested negative on the first and last day of our trip.
✓ Motorized blackout and day curtains to conveniently create the ideal work or rest environment
✓ Great dining options at on-site eateries Makan Kitchen and Tosca Italian Trattoria
✓ A leisure games room available with tabletop and card games as well as a foosball table, a pool table and a PS4
✓ Function rooms suitable for meetings, weddings and other social gatherings
However, as a new hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City (DoubleTree) has set new standards. While we don’t know exactly what these standards are, we were invited to a 3D2N workcation to test them out ourselves.
As part of DoubleTree’s signature welcome, we received their cookies upon check-in in the huge lobby. There’s plenty of seating here for guests to socialize or hang out over drinks and snacks from the grab-and-go cafe, The Koffee.
At the very back there is also the Axis Longue where guests can relax with drinks and food.
But we were there to get some work done, so we made our way to our 17th floor room, ready to begin our journey with our welcome cookies in tow.
Where we will be calling home in the next few days
The first thing that struck us upon entering our King Deluxe Suite was the scent. We’ve had experience with overwhelming scents before, but this fresh and subtle floral scent was different.
I also immediately noticed the additional welcome refreshments on the living area coffee table, including some chocolate cake pops, macarons, and a sparkling lime and hibiscus drink from a local brand, Tapping Tapir.
If you’re not a soda fan, the minibar is stocked with capsule coffee and glass bottles of water, in addition to all the essentials like cups and spoons. There is also a mini fridge tucked underneath.
The main living area is separated from the bedroom which is furnished with a comfortable king size bed. This separation is great for scenarios where one party wants to work while the other wants to rest or have a private conversation.
There is a vanity that could serve as a smaller workspace, but the ottoman underneath was a bit too short for us to work comfortably.
The bathroom is spacious, with a deep soaking tub and separate shower, and a spacious open closet. Here we found some bathrobes and an extra pillow and blanket.
From our bedroom windows we had a bird’s eye view of the i-City Theme Park with its ferris wheel and the city lights that were sure to get even more dazzling in the evening.
And when you’re done admiring the view, you can simply press a button and the blackout curtains will close by themselves.
Overall, our King Deluxe Suite had everything we needed for a comfortable and, as the name suggests, deluxe stay, but does it fit for a productive stay?
Judging by the workstation housed in this room, I was tempted to say yes right away. The spacious work table in front of the minibar is equipped with an office chair on wheels and is located next to two sockets, which are definitely indispensable in the workplace.
However, there were two of us at the workcation, but only one chair for the workplace. We could have worked on the sofa, but that’s probably not ergonomically optimal.
Luckily the hotel staff was able to send us an extra chair after calling the operator. While not as luxurious as what came in the room, it was a reasonable height for the table.
But a bigger issue we ran into was internet connectivity, something we learned is absolutely critical to our productivity.
After some difficulties connecting to the guest wifi we decided to call the operator again who was kind enough to give us the password for a private wifi.
We later asked another member of staff if free Wi-Fi was available, and she explained that customers would need to download the Hilton app and become a complimentary Hilton Honors member to use free Wi-Fi.
However, the hotel’s website states that standard WiFi in the room and lobby costs RM30, and from my previous stays at various DoubleTrees I know that not all locations offer free WiFi.
Work hard and relax harder
Of course, since we didn’t work in our rooms all day, we asked for a tour of the hotel’s facilities.
We were shown around the event halls, which seems to be a major highlight of this hotel as it houses a total of 1,594 square feet of meeting space, making it a suitable venue for weddings, business meetings, and other social gatherings.
You can contact the hotel directly or through the hotel website to request the prices of these rooms.
Next to the 24/7 gym is the outdoor infinity pool which I decided to try around 9am.
Unfortunately it was being cleaned but I only had to wait about 20 minutes for it to be ready for me.
There is also a hot tub connected to the pool which was really nice. I didn’t notice any difference in temperature, but the jets make it a comfortable place to relax after a swim.
However, if you are looking for a heated experience, there is a sauna upstairs. There is also said to be a spa on this floor, but it hasn’t opened yet.
On the same floor as the gym and pool is a games room with a variety of card and board games, as well as a foosball and pool table.
There is also a PS4 that guests can play but will have to pay a sizable deposit of RM600 to do so.
A gastronomic journey
On our first night, we were served dinner at Tosca Italian Trattoria, DoubleTree by Hilton’s Italian restaurant.
The interior design here is cozy and warm, and according to staff, Shah Alam i-City’s Tosca follows the new standards set by DoubleTree by Hilton, which is seeing an updated concept and aesthetic, the first to do so in Malaysia.
After ordering our waitress’ recommendations, we were served a warm and soft focaccia with a side of homemade tomato sauce, which was a great start to our dinner.
If you’re going to the hotel soon, be sure to order the Bruschetta Romana, Petto Di Manzo (a brisket dish), Aglio Olio Di Gamberi, and Burrata Con Pizza.
After a filling meal, treat yourself to the tiramisu prepared in front of the guests, which becomes more of an experience than just a dish.
Most of our meals, however, took place in the aptly named Makan cuisine, known for having three main sections corresponding to Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian food.
The breakfast buffets certainly gave us plenty to choose from, including roti bakar and soup noodles, but what was really exciting here was the seafood buffet on the second night.
We were told it was the second seafood buffet to be held at the hotel and looks like it will be a monthly event. Freshly shelled oysters, scallops and more were up for grabs, as well as differently prepared crab, fish and other seafood.
For those who aren’t huge seafood lovers, there are also non-seafood options like chicken and beef satay, pandan chicken, and more.
The last area to dine in is the Axis Lounge, which was recommended to us to work in. We sat at some outlets which was great. Here we enjoyed fish and chips as well as a popiah meal while we worked. Guests can also order select Makan Kitchen dishes here.
I’d say the Axis Lounge is an ideal spot for a business lunch or casual meeting, although it might not be a productive spot for those who prefer a quieter work environment.
A great place to work with no surprises
Having experienced a few workcations in the heart of some central locations in the past, I found the DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City to be quite relaxing as it’s further out of KL without being too far.
I felt that the Deluxe King Suite is definitely an ideal room choice for a workspace as well, as the layout gives a nice sense of not only the physical but also the mental separation of work and relaxation.
While the bed was comfortable enough to rest on, I found the pillow to be too soft. However, the extra pillow in the toilet was a bit firmer.
The restaurants here are worth coming back for, but the higher prices might make me look for other options. The good thing is that there is a shopping center nearby, Central i-City, with a larger selection of food.
What Workcation audience is the DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City suitable for?
Solo hybrid worker
Treat yourself to a change of pace by working in the Axis Lounge or The Koffee, where you can also hold business meetings.
Workcationers traveling with family
Visit the pool and playroom on the fifth floor to keep the kids entertained.
Expats / longer term business travelers
Enjoy the various dining options offered at the hotel or visit the nearby shopping malls for a change.
business meetings and corporate events
Book a company meeting in the hotel’s meeting rooms and event spaces.
Read our other reviews of workcations we have attended here.
Find out more about DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City here.
All images: Vulcan Post taken with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro
It is official. I can’t get dim sum out of my head. I blame my colleagues. First there was Bethany Jean Clement’s interview with Canlis chef Aisha Ibrahim praised the dumplings at Joyale’s. Then I found perfect rice rolls at Kirkland’s dim sum for breakfast Discover the Early Bird Cafe. To top it all off, Tan Vinh proclaimed Renton’s Triumph Valley best dim sum anywhere outside of Richmond, BC
But I firmly believe that there are never enough dumplings in life. With that in mind, I have one more dim sum spot to tempt you – T&T Seafood in Edmonds, where clattering metal carts full of steamers roll through the expansive dining room and somber aquariums filled with giant lobsters fill the back wall.
The friend I met on a Monday afternoon before lunch at the Strip Mall around 99 Ranch Market said she had always wanted to go to T&T, but on the weekends it was impossible to get a table. While it was busy on a Monday we were seated right away so it seems like weekdays are the way to go if you can swing it.
About 30 seconds after we were seated, a pot of hot tea was brought to our table (each table has a QR code attached for off-menu orders). Before the tea was fully steeped, a cart stopped and offered rice buns, pancakes, and all fried foods. There’s also a second cart with steamed buns, dumplings and all the offal – chicken feet, honeycomb and flat tripe and sinew.
The carts spun around constantly, and while a few items were always on offer (pork shu mai, steamed shrimp), there were others that unfortunately only showed up after I was full (the nest-like fried shrimp balls).
The offerings are dim sum’s biggest hits, many of which are well done. Of the things we were able to snatch from the cart, the standouts were the steamed jumbo shrimp, crispy fried shrimp and chive dumplings, pork shu mai, and fried shrimp paste tofu. I also enjoyed the baked barbecue pork buns that were topped with a hint of gooey icing — but the pork to bun ratio was a bit off as there just wasn’t enough pork.
However, the absolute best thing we tried was the half barbecue duck ($18.80) ordered off the regular menu. The polished skin crackles lightly under the thin, flavorful sauce, giving way to that luscious layer of duck fat and impossibly juicy meat. There’s a small bowl of viscous, ginger-heavy dipping sauce that adds a layer of flavor but isn’t necessary at all. The half-size portion has a fair amount of neck meat, which is a hands-on experience for anyone who feels like it, but there are plenty of boneless platters to take away, too.
I’ll definitely be returning for that duck – but also to get my hands on all the smacking shrimp dim sum – and to further explore the extensive menu with a variety of pasta and rice dishes and soups.
T&T Seafood 10am-8:30pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-9:30pm Friday-Sunday, Dim Sum served daily from 10am-3pm; 22511 Highway 99 #103, Edmonds; 425-776-3832; tandtseafoodrestaurant.comcastbiz.net
Elsewhere at the crossroads of Edmonds and grilled meats, there’s a slip of a square in the Perrinville neighborhood Fat pork BBQ. There is a small barrel smoker just outside and as soon as you walk in the room has a window for ordering and a few tables for eating.
I ordered a rack of ribs ($24.95), a quarter chicken ($6.75), and a small pulled pork menu ($12.50) that included a bun, baked beans, and coleslaw.
Each of the cuts of meat has been coated in varying degrees in a rich, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. It’s drizzled over the tender pulled pork, peeled onto the chargrilled chicken thighs and thighs and — perhaps most importantly — smudged all over the ribeye, which is so tender the meat falls off the bone with ease.
I’ve thought about these ribs at least three times since I ate them – and that includes Thanksgiving weekend, which I basically spent four days feasting on! They were incredibly tender, and the barbecue sauce softened the little black bits clinging to the edges. They were definitely cheeky, but in a way the chicken was lovely too – and both were still lovely the next day.
The menu has options to have meat as part of a meal – like the pulled pork I ordered – or on its own. The beans that came with the meal had this sweet/spicy/vinegar thing. The coleslaw was forgetful, but I think the ideal way to eat it is on a mushy bun along with the pork and an extra dash of that barbecue sauce (there’s a sandwich on the menu).
Jackie Variano covers the food scene in the Seattle neighborhoods. She loves digging into stories that discuss why we eat the things we do—and when—in our region and beyond. Reach them at [email protected] County Report.com. On Twitter: @JackieVariano.
TV chef Angela Hartnett on howling at Gordan Ramsay and her Italian version of Christmas dinner.
As both you and your husband are chefs, do you cook cordon bleu every night?
We don’t have three course meals every night! That’s the day job. Some nights we might just have a little cheese on toast and other nights we might just have a bowl of soup.
Most of the time we work in restaurants anyway, but whoever gets home first usually cooks.
Who are your personal favorite chefs?
I love Delia Smith, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein and Keith Floyd, but to be honest I don’t really watch a lot of TV shows about cooking. It’s a bit like a bus driver’s vacation, isn’t it? I much prefer going out or watching a good comedy. I love Ted Lasso.
Where did you do your training as a chef?
Not me. I never went to cooking school, I studied history. After that I learned in jobs, worked in kitchens. I worked for Gordon Ramsay for a long time.
What’s it like to be on the wrong side of one of his famous rollocks?
Nobody wants to be yelled at, but you can understand why he does it. He has a job to do and he wants to do it well. I have worked with Gordon for 17 years. You wouldn’t work with someone for so long if they were a horrible person. He simply demands excellence!
Tell us about your podcast dish…
It’s like inviting people over for dinner and a nice chat. I mainly cook and Nick Grimshaw mainly chats and serves the drinks. Season 2 guests included Vernon Kay, Nadiya Hussain and Stanley Tucci. I made a Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle for Martin Kemp, that was nice. I describe what I cook for the audience and we send a link to the recipes.
Do you have cooking traditions in your family?
Mom’s family is Italian… at Christmas we make a Sicilian pasta dish called anellini. For Easter we make a delicious tortelli made of spinach and ricotta. I’m lucky that all my aunts and cousins are great cooks, so we all help to prepare together. I make the broth and it’s become a tradition.
Do you still cook every day?
Yes. I have four restaurants in total, all in London, but I’m based in Murano. They are basically self sufficient and I only go when I have to.
More than just a social media app for endless scrolling fun, tick tock has become a worthy contender in the e-commerce scene TikTok shop.
Ever since TikTok Shop hit the Malaysian coast earlier this year, SMEs have been using the platform to scale their growth.
During the e-commerce event on 11.11. TikTok Shop ran its own 11.11 mega sale campaign, offering a range of products from local and global sellers alike.
Free shipping vouchers, coupon giveaways and other items from participating brands were also distributed during the livestream sessions.
With the help of the TikTok team, we spoke to merchants such as ZUCCA, Alha Alfa, Gaborand designs who shared their experience of selling on the platform during the 11.11 campaign.
Boost local SMEs
TikTok champions “shoppertainment,” allowing users to shop within the app themselves while being entertained.
The social media platform seamlessly integrates TikTok Shop with live stream videos from merchants promoting their products.
You can find these videos on the “LIVE” tab in the app, or stumble across them on your For You page, where you can access a seller’s shop and buy their products in TikTok itself.
For consumers, this means easy shopping, while for sellers, it’s a model that greatly increases their visibility.
During the mega sales campaign on 11.11. of TikTok Shop, which lasted a week, women’s clothing brand ZUCCA saw a 502.37% increase in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) from the campaign on 10/10.
To drive live sales, RM110,000 worth of vouchers were issued, half of which were claimed.
ZUCCA also held a prize draw worth RM30,000 to increase viewers’ viewing time, resulting in a 302.26% increase in video views and a 46.81% increase in watch time. On 11.11. the brand launched RM11 worth of merchandise and vouchers to reward loyal customers.
The ZUCCA team is convinced of this based on their experience Telling followers how their products would benefit them rather than hard selling contributed to the success of the brand.”
We took the opportunity to use TikTok Shop live stream to get more engagement and Find out what our users needto build a stronger relationship with our customers,” the team at ZUCCA shared.
Local cosmetics brand Alha Alfa held raffles where customers only had to buy one item from their store to be entered. Prizes included items like an iPhone 14, a mini fridge, or a makeup storage box, to name a few.
Apart from the raffle, Alha Alfa also held promotions with buy 1 free 1 offers and up to 80% off the store’s products. The brand also collaborated with local celebrity Zara Zya in its promotional efforts and attracted more traffic during the live stream.
Based on these initiatives, Alha Alfa saw an average of 2.2,000 views between November 8th and 11th, while its GMV is projected to grow by 3,423.38%.
Dato Alha, who founded the brand, shared that he appreciates TikTok Shop’s ease of use, which makes it easier for merchants to engage with audiences. He added that being able to demonstrate a product in live streams encourages customers to buy.
“With this, we’ve managed to make a profit and grow our business slightly as it helps us attract new customers alongside our existing ones,” he said.
Gaabor, a consumer electronics brand, works with over 100 developers (aka hosts) of TikTok Shop partners to conduct live streams and post short videos promoting the brand’s products.
Did you know: TikTok Shop Partner (TSP) Hosts are service providers for TikTok Shop sellers, helping them to manage content creation, live stream production with purchases, business operations, etc.
A contest was also held between creators to see who could bring in the most GMV over a given period of time.
With the help of these developers, Gaabor claimed that his GMV grew by 680% while order revenue increased by 800% since his 10.10 campaign.
Free giveaways were also presented during their live streams. During the 11.11 campaign, the brand’s total number of live streams grew to 10 hours per day, with live stream views increasing by 400%.
Another consumer electronics brand, Dessini, can attest to similar success. With the help of TSP hosts, the brand generated $102.5K (RM 464.3K) in revenue from live streams, which also represented a 326% GMV growth compared to the 10.10 campaign.
Dessini’s live stream views also saw a 253% growth, and the brand reported that its development team streamed non-stop for 17 hours.
Study of past historical data Identifying effective TSP hosts was a key factor that Dessini’s team believed could increase traffic.
They added, “After joining the TikTok Shop, our cumulative sales volume reached more than 7 million RM, which increased the overall performance of our business by 10%.”
Dessini’s team shared their gratitude, noting that TikTok Shop was able to turn them into a “hot-selling brand” in a matter of months.
Shopping seamlessly integrated into content
According to Wilson Leong, FMCG category director of TikTok Shop Malaysia, the platform’s intention is to shape the e-commerce space in Malaysia and maximize the potential of local business owners in shoppertainment.
As an avid TikTok lurker myself (where I only watch content and tag my friends but don’t post anything), it’s commendable that the platform is expanding beyond its usual short video content.
With more festive seasons just around the corner, the platform hopes more SMB owners and online retailers will come on board to take advantage of its shoppertainment featureshere.