Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Greetings from Brunei

Shortly before Christmas Royal Brunei promoted a package for a long weekend at the Empire Resort. The idea of a 6 star resort was simply too hard to resist and so off we went.

Brunei is a small principality in Borneo, East Malaysia. Primarily it is simply known as the home of one of the world's richest men - the Sultan of Brunei. The Empire Resort was simply, once, the palace and resisdence of Prince Jefri - brother of the Sultan.

The crockery and silverware used at all meals - still bears his initials. (A simple breakfast buffets includes Austrian jams and preserves and a huge selection of international dishes - curry chicken for breakfast too!)

The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms with to the ceiling marble and granite are huge - close to half the size of the rest of the room.

View from our room of the beach. Although different, I now understand why our Australian beaches are so renowned.

Room with a view, 3 days with no alcohol - as a Muslim state, the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public areas..... what is a girl to do? Yup, get on the twilight bandwagon, a diet soda, ipod and in 23 degree air conditioned comfort - there could be worse ways to spend a weekend!!

In the lobby, the awe inspiring pillars of solid marble and granite, stretching 6 floors skyward, floor to ceiling glass and refridgerated at a comfortable 23degrees.

Inlaid with 22 carat gold leaf details.

Austrian - Swarovski actually, chandelliers at every turn.......

Venturing out in the rest of the resort - by golf buggy for those unwilling to walk in the humid weather, the Empire also boast 5 pools.

Here's one..............

the lagoon......

and another.........
and another....
I think you get the general idea....... all within a balls thrown to the South China Sea. Disappointingly, all pools had rather warm water and made swimming not as refreshing as it would otherwise have been.

Oh! While we're at it, I suppose a girl needs a pool side snack after a looong swim under the clear blue skies.

A short day visit into the city was in order to discover the local sights and sounds.

Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, built by the current Sultan. Again, lots of marble, lots of crystals, lots of gold!

The national mosque, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque referred to by the locals as the mini Taj.

the Water Village (Crown Prince's palace in the background)

and of course, what is the best thing about living in a tax free, oil producing country?

Yes! Pertol at 51.9c

Brunei is the sort of place you would go enroute somewhere. If you were, say going to Kota Kinabalu for a bit of diving, or Singapore for a bit of shopping, then stopping in Brunei for a refresher for a bit of R&R, especially the the Empire, would a fantastic way to spend a few days.

Sit by the pool, detox and fall asleep with the balmy sea breeze......just make sure its not under this coconut tree!

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