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Sur La Terre : Issue 5
86 sur la terre hotel review Photographs: all rights reserved Text: Damian Tan A long, long time ago, in the dreamy, enchanting city of Kuching in the 1950s, there existed a charming structure called the Aurora Hotel. Presenting its town folk with stan- dards of luxury never before ex- perienced at the time, its prestige was indisputable. Said to cost 1.75 million dollars, it consisted of 36 rooms of unquestionable lavishness with private bathrooms, replete with amenities such as a dining room and bar, dance floor, Chinese restaurant, beauty parlour, dry cleaning outlet, and sundry shop. It was also proud witness to Sarawak's declaration of independence on 16th September 1963, held at Padang Merdeka, the open field fronting the hotel. As time passed - and like all good things coming to an end - Aurora Hotel ceased to operate. However, due to its significance, the property was acquired, and plans were set to not just revive past glories, but to push things even further to a state of utmost extravagance. These plans resulted in the majestic Merdeka Pal- ace and Suites being built in the ex- act same spot. Grandly opening 11 years ago, Merdeka Palace is the quintes- sence of old world charm. With its 213 rooms designed to evoke the era of Merdeka, with black and white photographic prints of colonial times hung on its walls everywhere, you feel like you've stepped back in time to relive the magic of that his- toric period. The 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartment suites are es- pecially elegant and cosy, creating a homeliness that entices you to relax and unwind. Boasting unbeatable panoramic views of the city, these apartments come equipped with Merdeka Palace: The Cat's Whiskers broadband internet access and 32- inch LCD televisions offering a wide range of local and satellite channels. A 25-minute drive from Kuching In- ternational Airport is all it takes to get there. Guests seeking an escapade will immediately appreciate the ho- tel's strategic location in the heart of the city, as it gives them easy access to Kuching's city centre and tourist spots, most of these within a 10 to 20-minute walking distance. Beau- tiful handicraft can be obtained at the Main Bazaar, and there are nu- merous museums to satisfy one's interest in the local history. The high- lights include the Sarawak Museum, housing one of the best collections in Southeast Asia, and the Chinese