I have been to the First World hotel five times, for conferences and on family vacation. But the First World hotel still amazes me.
Perched on high lands, Genting’s skies change their moods without warning, which adds to the allure. The best way to reach the hotel is by cable cars, over tropical forests. Once past the entrance, First World is a wonderland where one can lose one’s way safely and get the thrill of finding it. The hotel is huge, with a total of some 6000 rooms in two towers, each with over half a dozen high-speed elevators. Over a dozen conference halls and ball rooms are part of the elegant convention centre.
Almost round the clock, guests arrive for check-in, hundreds seated, waiting their turn at the counters. The superior rooms are spacious, the clubrooms have a dash of luxury but the deluxe rooms are masterpieces in space planning and guest programming. They are very small and spartan. You will struggle to find the place to open your suitcase. In rooms that have television, you just have half a dozen channels. But then the rooms are designed to keep you out of them with your free will.
The objective is to keep the guests busy in the casino which is the money spinner. Rooms are a support function. Interestingly, in the maze of escalators, steps and elevators, you will invariably land at one of the four entrances to the Star World casino.
The spatial design and space planning to accommodate the indoor theme park, the eateries and shops, not to mention the surging crowd, is impeccable. Each nook has a distinct look, within the lit-round-the-clock, festive ambience jazzed up by not so faithful replicas of some of the wonders of the world Children, right from toddlers, to adults have a variety of games and rides.
The external theme park spread across to earth, water and air. Space shot, corkscrew and the giant spinning wheel are not for those with vertigo.
In all this, the remarkable thing is the way size and huge numbers are managed with quiet efficiency. The food never runs out at the canteen that can feed thousand guests simultaneously. The menu is elaborate and the presentation attractive.
The whole operations are a triumph of systems. The whole thing is a perpetually revolving giant wheel. Hop into its seats and hop out when you like — the giant wheel goes on not even realising it. But, if you want something outside the routine, you had it!. While the rooms in the food are great value for money, if you want a separate catering, the rates zoom. Incidentally, there is no room service in the First World.
Customised services should be requisitioned well in advance and come at a price. At the same time, if you can plug in to the routine, then First World is real value for every Ringitt you pay.