Amidst the excitement of the rapid construction of the Zenith Hotel, it remains necessary to equally weigh up the drawbacks with the advantages. You should really read my other essay detailing some of...
...so you can see the other side of the coin and come to your own conclusions.
Firstly, the most astonishing detail of the Zenith Hotel is its prices. At RM450 being the starting price for a standard deluxe room, I am wondering who exactly will be staying there for more than one night. A typical family room starts from RM850, which I don't believe is particularly inviting for families who are on a strict budget each month. With the price of the Zenith Suite escalating to RM20,000 per night, I would dare to comment that this is a hotel in the wrong place. For me, I would probably get myself down to the Hyatt Regency Resort Kuantan, over RM100 less and located right on Teluk Chempedak beach.
Check out my journey on my trusty bicycle around Kuantan in the blistering heat, as I surveyed a number of Kuantan hotels.
As for the Zenith Hotel, the price is just too dear to attract ordinary Malaysian folk.
At the end of October 2010, I had a run-in with a bogus policeman. In the dark of night at around 7:20pm, I was cycling home when I reached a row of shop-lots just a stone's throw from the Zenith Hotel. The bogus policeman came on a motorbike from a dark, back alley. He showed me some form of identification, but had no police badge or uniform. I was very fortunate that I was carrying an empty bag (I had strangely left my camera at home that evening) and my wallet was in my back pocket. He was adamant on seeing my passport, then he wanted me to buy him coffee in some feeble attempt at a bribe. I bluntly refused and at this point my suspicions that he wasn't a real cop were confirmed. He ended up following me back to my house where he asked me to bring down my passport. He wouldn't come up. Of course I didn't go back down, and within five minutes he'd decided to go and look for someone else to rob.
With the inception of a five-star hotel looking to attract rich visitors from Malaysia and abroad, bogus police like him will be a huge deterrent to tourists. If I had been here on holiday as opposed to living here, I most definitely would not come back or consider Malaysia in any future holiday plans. With a lack of "real" police presence or law enforcement, bogus police will sadly thrive on innocent foreigners. So too will other types of crime flourish, including snatch thefts and scams, on unassuming travellers.
My third point however, deals with the absence of tourists in Kuantan. For whatever reasons, Kuantan doesn't seem to be a tourist hot-spot. I bemoan this sad state of affairs because there is so much to see and many places of interest in and around Kuantan, from religious structures to natural garden scenes to stunning beaches. It seems that Tourism Malaysia will need to dramatically improve its promotion of Kuantan as a holiday destination, or the Zenith Hotel may find the majority of its 515 rooms empty.
The Zenith Hotel will be relying heavily on people from outstation and abroad. As a result, local Kuantanites will fail to establish a connection with the Zenith Hotel. It will not feel like it belongs to them and so may be further excluded from the life of locals. I would hope that the Zenith Hotel will not become a target for criticism from those who may feel negatively about its construction.
With East Coast Mall (ECM) yards away, and the ever-growing Putra Square in close vicinity, the Zenith Hotel area will be prone to sizeable traffic jams. The road between Zenith Hotel and ECM, and those roads around Putra Square, are extremely narrow and incapable of efficiently transporting traffic along. This is not helped by drivers who constantly park their vehicles on the yellow lines at the sides of the busy roads. Traffic jams and minor accidents will surely be on the rise when the Zenith Hotel opens its doors for business, particularly on weekends and public holidays. This will also affect the traffic flow in the surrounding area of Jalan Dato Lim Hoe Lek and the junction between the stadium and LA Hotel. Coming from the stadium, and also Jalan Dato Lim Hoe Lek, there is only a single lane entrance to the hotel and ECM.
We therefore hope that these factors have fully been taken into account during the process of planning and constructing the Zenith Hotel, and that necessary adjustments will be made. Although, with just over a month until the opening, all of the aforementioned concerns remain.