Wednesday, April 10, 2013

how to throw your friend a bridal shower / bachelorette : the banjaran hot springs retreat, botanical bangsar village

So a good friend of mine is getting married and it goes without saying that I was gonna give her a good shower. Yup we did spend quite abit on her, Miss ChongChong and I (thank you for your emails. I hope my post helps explain your queries). The way I look at it, there are moments when one needs to take a step back from one's self-centred egocentrism and be nice to a friend. It's just about being generous... stepping up to the plate and being a good mate. Also for you babydolls who are yet to be married, do note that you may one day come to a point in your life when you anticipate a bridal shower in celebration of yourself. How do you expect to be treated like a goddess if you were such a calculative b*tch before? Yes, it certainly was an expensive affair and ever since I quit my job, money has been tight and occasionally hard to come by. Hence I saved. I worked (really) hard and I saved.

With reference to the previous guide to throwing a birthday party, let's recap the steps:
1. Theme
2. Appointment with bride-to-be
3. Date + Time
4. Invite list (+ budget)
5. Venue
6. Invitations
7. Menu + Bar
8. Decor + Help 

1. Theme: Nature-inspired, intimate and quiet

Anyhoots, Miss ChewChew desired something quiet and nature-inspired. It was a toss up between Sekeping Serendah, AwanMulan or The Dusun. We scraped The Dusun as she had just attended a bridal shower there. And then suddenly I thought of The Banjaran and everything seemed to pale in comparison. It's hefty but the facilities were so compelling especially since Miss ChewChew loves yoga. Yoga in their famous meditation cave sounded surreal! So I made a reservation for us via Agoda and Miss ChewChew offered to chauffeur our lil' party there since the stay was on us (Miss ChongChong and I). We despise rural living but yet we earn all this money in the bustling city only to give it away to a retreat in the village. The dilemma of a city girl *lol* 

Check out our porch :) Damn I love private villa pools!

We received a complimentary upgrade from the Water Villa to the Garden Villa! Score! Checking into the resort was a breeze... relaxing even. We were handed a warm towel and a lemongrass tea concoction which was yum! Just before we were showed our villa, Miss ChewChew was given the honours of 'BANGING the gong'! We were given a brief tour of the resort in a buggy before stopping at the doorstep of our villa. We immediately jumped into our bikinis before heading out to the springs. Oh wait the heading out to the springs part was delayed for over an hour with Miss ChewChew and Miss ChongChong having to deal with work on the phone and me getting busy with Instagram and replying *bisou* bonbon emails. But soon enough we pulled ourselves together and snapped out of work mode and left the stressors in they city behind.

Clockwise from top: view of the resort from The Balcony, Miss ChewChew bangs brass, L-R: Miss ChewChew, Miss ChongChong, moi

Me thinks the bride-to-be enjoyed wading in The Reflexology Pool the most.

After The balcony, we decided to check the Thermal Steam Cave out. It was very very HOT!

It was SO HOT that I felt light-headed. Everyone was just starting to break a sweat and my face had already turned into a ripe tomato 0_0'

The Freeform Swimming Pool has got to be my favourite! It's mildly warmed by the natural hot springs which gives it just the right temperature for a comfortable swim. I could stay in it forever!

Thumbs up:
- Mountain-view mildly-heated poo
- Hot Springs Dipping pools
- Spacious garden villa
- Complimentary villa upgrade

Thumbs down:
- Meh maintenance (referring to our villa's private hot tub)
- Unclean Garra Ruffa and Reflexology pool

My review on Agoda:

Check-in was very swift and welcoming. They gave us a complimentary upgrade to the Garden Villa which was very sweet. The Garden Villa was very spacious with a private hot tub (it was not working when we arrived but was fixed up by the evening). Staff was very kind and helpful. This was a bachelorette weekend for our bride-to-be friend. The complimentary speedy wifi allowed the working girls to still function at the office while physically escaping the city. We found the Garra Ruffa and Reflexology pool to be quite unclean and the fishes to be scarce. We absolutely enjoyed the Hot Springs Dipping pools and freeform swimming pool (gently heated naturally by the geothermal waters) and spent most of our time there. The caves are worth a visit but not much to shout about. The thermal steam caves can be quite overwhelming.. best to not go alone or inform someone that you're heading that way. Maintenance is slightly on the 'meh' side but the good cohesion between man-made facilities and nature makes up for it. We also appreciate the good security and privacy. Breakfast menu is alright but thumbs up for including quinoa. All in all the bride-to-be had an awesome time which was all that mattered.

Such a serene good morning greet on the way back from brunch. Health alert: they serve quinoa in their breakkie buffet!

The Banjaran
No 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3
31150 Ipoh
Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia
Tel: +60 5 210 7777

2. Appointment with bride-to-be
3. Date + Time
4. Invite list (+ budget): It is common custom that the maid-of-honour tends to be the one who has to telan the budget for the shower but since Miss ChewChew didn't have any, the dining bill was split amongst us. I was happy to foot the decor charges.
5. Venue: A stay at The Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat and tea at Botanical Bangsar Village II

All in all I think Miss ChewChew enjoyed the weekend cityscape :) But hey there's more! OK, the initial plan was to whisk Miss ChewChew off to The Banjaran and then driving her post-check out to her Bridal Shower tea party in Botanical! Unfortunately that didn't quite work out as planned and the bridal shower had to be postponed to the week after. Miss ChongChong and I went a little early to prep the place up. Turns out Miss LizDiz was already there! She was in charge of Miss ChewChew's tiara and sash and did a mighty fine job at it :)

6. Invitations: Whimsy Whimsical

Yup, I even got the shower invitation customized. I sure do love Whimsy Whimsical!

7. Menu + Bar: we weren't too hungry so we ordered everything on the snack menu like cauliflower fritters, rojak (MY FAVOURITE) and desserts like strawberry shortcake along with rosé bubblies (it IS a celebration after all!)
8. Decor + Help: balloons from Balloon Buzz, I brought a 'Bride' sign printout, tiara + sash also available on Balloon Buzz

I love Botanical! It's a garden tea cafe in a mall :D Ah... an almost natural surroundings with the comfort of air-conditioning and faux sunshine! 

Gave the girls a pinkie Cíate Caviar Manicure!

9. Entertainment (+ games): I gave the girls a Ciaté Caviar Manicure before Miss ChewChew's gift unboxing session. Subsequently I presented her with a collection of recipes from all her intimate friends (as most of them were overseas and could not make it to the shower) just so she knows that she's loved. I had sent out the cards to all of them 2 months via registered mail before the event and put them together as they slowly trickled into my postbox. One of them came with a romantic letter which I read out during the shower on behalf of the writer.

10. Gifts (for the birthday person + guests): Miss ChewChew gifted us her favourite *bisou* bonbon product: Hiver soap and an Ellianto nail lacquer. I put them together with the tea-party package consisting of a Daiso cheese board, *bisou* bonbon Earl Grey teacup candle and Karung Guni wheatgrass seeds. For the bride, I gave her a box of something old (Bluezcrazy fabric coasters that she has always admired. I've had a set for the longest time but never used them so I gifted it to her), something new (La Senza foreplay dices), something borrowed (bridal emergency kit with small first-aid knick-knacks like Panadol tablets and *bisou* bonbon First-Aid Salve) and something blue (Sonnentor Calming Tea to aid with the wedding stress)!

Since it's a tea party, the party favour comprised of: a wooden teaspoon / mini shovel for the *bisou* bonbon earl Grey tealight candle (geddit? geddit?), Karung Guni wheatgrass 'sugah' and nail lacquer as milk with a block of *bisou* bonbon Hiver soap 'cake'!

I don't know 'bout Miss ChongChong but my favourite part in any Bridal Shower is always the part about presents!! Mine was 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue'.

Some of Miss ChewChew's good friends were unable to attend the Bridal Shower so I collected handwritten home recipe cards from them (all over the world). Now she can have a piece of them to take home with her! :)


It was a very intimate shower and I do believe the bride-to-be had good fun.


Botanical
BVII, 1F28
Bangsar Village Shopping Center
Jalan Telawi Satu
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : +603 2287 6566


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