‘Weekends in Chinatown’ by Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, include various experiences and workshops, free of charge, for in-house guests. As the experiences are on a first-come-first-served basis and seats are limited, our stay depended solely on whether I was able to get spots in these workshops – priorities! I booked in for all except for yoga.
Checking in to Four Points Chinatown was not as easy as it could’ve been. The parking is only open to in-house guests but after rounding all the way to the top, we didn’t manage to find a spot at all. There were plenty of empty spots, but these had reserved signs on all of them. We drove back down to the car park entrance, only to be told by the guy manning the boom gates that we could actually park at the reserved spots. We just had to leave a name and number on our windscreen (double parking Malaysian style). Now, if he had just told us right off the bat when we first entered the carpark!
Mini Chef Academy
We only had less than an hour after checking into our room before the first experience was up: Mini Chef Academy. I did have my suspicions that this would cater more to younger children (3 – 8 years), but I signed the 11-year-old up anyway. True enough, he was the oldest one at the workshop and I was feeling slightly bad that I was putting him through that as the other children looked below 5 years of age. But hey, we were already there and he was willing to go through with it. The session did not start on time which is annoying if you are there on time and waiting, which we were.
When it finally started, we found out that the children were making chocolate lava cupcake for that session, which made the kid really happy. All the ingredients were all prepped and set out for each child. The Chef led the children with clear instructions. The younger children needed help from an adult throughout the process, but it was all easy enough. The cupcakes were baked and were offered to the children to be eaten with ice-cream. The kid left Mini Chef Academy chuffed with himself.
Sunset Floral Workshop – for budding florists
Next up was Sunset Floral Workshop – for me! Since I’d taken over parenting duties for the Mini Chef Academy, I left the kid with the other half and headed down to Lady Yi’s Teahouse. This workshop is run by Weng Hoa Flower Boutique, an institution in itself, having been in Chinatown since 1983. Whilst the workshop, textural flowers, foliage and packaging materials are free, you do have to pay for the flowers you use for your own bouquet (at wholesale prices to boot, which was simply a steal!).
Ram showed us the different styles and ways to make a side bouquet, but he moved so fast that it was difficult to keep up. Having said that, when we set off to make our own bouquet, he was on hand to guide us through the steps from start to finish, with his own suggestions. By the end of the workshop, I managed a simple bouquet (with loads of tips and help from Ram) which only cost me RM18. Ultimately, I will never qualify to become a florist but it sure was fun to try!
They supposedly have their fair share of boys and husbands who sign up for the workshop to make bouquets for their mums and wives. Now…. why didn’t I think of that?!
Tip: you can opt to make single stem bouquets too. A mother who was there with her two girls, made plenty of these to give to their friends and the bouquet only cost them RM3 each!
A Cultural Walk
The next morning, all three of us went on a Cultural Walk around Chinatown. This is run by Kuala Lumpur Heritage Walks. We kicked off at the hotel lobby, where Stevie gave us a rundown on the history of Chinatown. We then moved through Chinatown and at each stop, he would let us know about that particular stop, using the images he had in his folder to show us before and after pictures of the area. We did an anti-clockwise walk around Chinatown. The walk was informative and we certainly headed to places we would never have on our own. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to stay for the entire walk as the heat and having to wear masks throughout got to us. It was nearing noon when we said our goodbyes (we started at 10am). We visited Kwai Chai Hong as well! More info about this historical alley here.
Back at the hotel, after much needed showers, we headed down to Jann for a Mixology Masterclass. Now this was something that’s right up my alley and I would excel at – ha! I had booked two spots: one for my husband and one for myself. We brought the kid along, as we didn’t want to leave him alone in the room. We were getting him settled in a corner when Darwin, the mixologist, got an extra bar stool for him and set him up with his own mixology kit! That certainly put Darwin in our good books.
Darwin kicked off with a brief about the ways to mix drinks and explained the use of each equipment set out in front of us. He was clear and precise in his intro and instructions. While the adults mixed a gin cocktail, the kid was mixing up a mocktail. The best part of the experience was of course drinking our own drinks!
What I came to realise by the time we checked out, was how much more refreshed I felt. Sure, I only went solo for one workshop but the other experiences were all things that interest me. I felt like I had indulged myself in the things I wanted to do. (I might add here that after the floral workshop, I went to Jann to have a drink solo before heading back up to the room where the other two were waiting).
Whilst it’s not the usual pampering that’s always being marketed to mothers, I left fully recharged (and apparently just in time for MCO 3.0). Also interesting to note is that there were two other mums who were with me at most of the workshops. They too were there for themselves. It seems to me that experiences/workshops are the new places where mums come out to play. I certainly did.
‘Weekends in Chinatown’ certainly left me wanting more. Whilst not a typical holiday where the focus is sightseeing, it was really nice to have joined in all the different experiences on offer. The experiences do change seasonally, so do check with them if you’re thinking of booking in a stay. More info on Four Points by Sheraton here. If you want to find out more about their experiences, have a look here.