I did not even know that there is such thing as French-themed village in Malaysia. And actually there is. A pack of French-style buildings on top of a hill, Berjaya Hills, just 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.
Our visit was quite unplanned as we were road tripping to the east coast of Kuantan, and wondered where to go on our last day. It should be somewhere between Kuantan and KL. At first I found Le Chateau (translated as The Castle), a resort and spa, whose nightly tariff is only affordable for those loaded. On top of that, children under 12 years old cannot be accommodated in the resort. So, I found this Colmar Tropicale, just next to Le Chateau. They seem to be owned by the same group: Berjaya group.
First impression, “Tres grande!” I said to myself. In Colmar Tropicale, everything is French-themed. There are many buildings, the bottom parts are used as shops, restaurants, hotel management, and the upper parts are hotel rooms.
The exterior is magnificent and colourful. There is a clock tower, viewing tower, duck pond, and a swimming pool. Some spots reminded me of Montmartre with all the cobblestones. But, I can’t seem to remember any colourful buildings in Paris – all are in the same shade. To be fair, I have never been to rural area in France.
If only the interior is as good as the exterior.
We arrived at 3 pm, there were lines of people checking in and checking out. It may not be the faults of the front desk, as the 4 receptionists worked their ass off helping all the guests. It was crowded and chaotic and took forever.
When we finally got our key card, off we went to the room, just one story above the hotel lobby. The room was one bedroom with huge living room area. It was huge. There were sofas on one side, a dining table on the other side. A 2 x 2 kitchen was on the corner. It’s funny as there was a sign “No Cooking” plastered on the wall. Why provide kitchen after all?
The dining room was quite useless because everybody eat in the restaurants. Well, except for those bringing tons of cup noodles. The bed room was quite okay, but the bed is as old as my grandmother. I could feel wires underneath. There was bathtub and sink with hot and cold water and dressers just outside the bed room. Useless.
Too many useless things and space in the room. In my opinion, it would be better to create smaller rooms for guests. Furniture was a bit run down. My son who is a harsh critique of accommodation said, “The hotel is a bit old. The air-cond is old. I like the hotel in Kuantan better.
But the view from our hotel room was magnifique. It was facing the green lush forest. We enjoyed the sound of crickets and garengpungs.
We had our lunch at Le Poulet Roti, one of its restaurants. The price was off the chart, the food was okay but not good enough. The service was super lousy. The waiters (who I think mostly were Cambodians, with a few Indian-looking) did not speak Malay and English. They screwed up orders, messed up our bill with another table. The breakfast at Les Blaison was much better, nice nasi goreng and delicious cakes.
There were Japanese village, adventure park, horse trail around the area.
Overall, my review of Colmar Tropicale is that it is worth a visit but not worth a stay.
How to get there: Colmar Tropicale is at Berjaya Hills, Lebuhraya Karak Km 48, Bentong. It is very easy as it’s not far from the road to Genting Highlands. Just go straight until you find the sign to Berjaya Hills. Follow the paved road, easy peasy. The road was okay, but when we went back there was a Kancil car single accident. It was literally upside down. View alongside the road is super awesome.