We stayed in the Bala's Holiday Chalet for two nights in July 2011 during our trip through Malaysia. It's situated a bit outside of the main part of Tanah Rata, which is all the better as there (as well as in Brinchang a bit further up north) you can find quite a few horrible concrete towers that do not blend in at all with the beautiful scenery of the Cameron Highlands. The Bala's Holiday Chalet does, as it is an old girls' school founded at the beginning of the 20th century by the British, and has a very nice cottage charm to it. Although you won't find a real good view (which is advertised on their website), the scenery is quite beautiful, as is the garden of the hotel where you can sit quite comfortably during the day and read (see photos).
Our room (we had a "Raffles Suite") had a decent size and a comfortable bed, no air condition (which is not needed due to the rather low temperatures there) and are nicely decorated inside. However, due to their age they have very small windows and, as a result, are very dark inside. The absence of good light sources does not improve things either - but then again, if you don't spend much time there (as there is quite a bit to see in the Cameron Highlands) that is not a big issue. The bathroom is not nice at all, however - it's basically a small and dark tiled cubicle with a showerhead (no proper shower) and a sink in it, and the window does not have a mosquito net either (which is a bit alarming as you can imagine a few bugs to creep in during the night...). We have seen far better than that in Malaysia.
On the positive side, the food in the restaurant is quite good - Indian cuisine, and very tasty. We ate there twice as it was so good and convenient, as well as reasonably priced. It does get a bit cool there in the evenings, but then a fire is lit sometimes. Quite amusingly there's a picture of Queen Elizabeth on the wall...! The breakfast is totally forgettable - it's called "continental" and you get two slices of toast with some jam and tea, no choice at all. For us it was included anyway, but if I had to pay extra for it I would advise not to take it.
As a summary I would recommend the place, in particular for its very nice cottage style and the good restaurant. It could easily be improved considerably by adding a few good lights in the rooms and installing a modern bathroom, along with a breakfast that deserves its name.
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- Also Known As:
- Bala`s Holiday Chalet Hotel Cameron Highlands
- Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant Cameron Highlands/Tanah Rata