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  • Hasrul 8:35 am on October 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cars   

    Porsche Panamera arrives with a bang 

    A brief departure from the spas

    Well I thought I could spruce this blog and talk about stuffs which do not concern with the world of spas for a change. After all the blog title “Sanctuary Brunei” is quite a broad name and I suppose it is up for one’s interpretation of what kind of things it entails.


    Besides having a quality time in a spa, every now and again I surf the pages of The Sartorialist to embrace and learn the latest street styles all worn by real people instead of copying things straight off the runway but today I am going to talk about my enthusiasm in cars. The idea started when this morning doing my usual fitness routine at the gym and I happen to read an article about the recent launching of the Porsche Panamera. Just trying to pronounce the name is such a tongue twister, it evokes such an exotic and mysterious feeling to it.


    The luxury sports saloon cars are all the rage nowadays, and this frenzy has reached Brunei. Saloon cars sell considerably well unlike roadsters. Bruneians have a penchant and passion for cars; it’s one of those things by which you could splash your money on and a benchmark to show how wealthy you are. Partly due to the hot, summer that we experience all year round and how silly it is to ride a cabriolet or any soft top roadster since the air pollution can be sometimes unbearable; that’s why we Bruneians like the saloon to accommodate our love for air-conditioning and anything new.

    I agree with that the market condition now is very different, the sports luxury saloon segment has been booming in the past few years. Look at the Mercedes CLS and another recently launched Mercedes E Class Coupe, people are buying cars and paying more money because they see the passion and evokes that certain emotion which is anonymous with sports car. However with the recent economic recession, they also like to be more practical in things – the more people and space that can be accommodated the better. Just look at the billions invested to produce new entries to this sport luxury saloon segment such as Maserati Quattroporte and the forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide. Its prospects is certainly far more optimistic that that in the early 1990s.

    In this way, Panamera is born.


    So I went to Qaf Autokars to touch and feel the ultimate supercar on the market at the moment. Upon entry, there it was, intimidating beauty. You knew that this car is going to be something great and will bruise the egos of other cars within the vicinity. Then I noticed that this new addition to the Porsche family is quite big by any standards. I actually am surprised; believe it or not, it exceeds the Cayenne SUV in all dimensions bar height! It’s hard to ignore this car and certainly appeals the market group that Porsche is aiming for.

    The sales consultant was surprisingly friendly unlike the intimidating feeling of the showroom, I was at ease and able to take a few shots of the car for the blog. The good thing, I was given the rare opportunity to be on the driver’s seat! The interior of the car is easily the best ever cabin built by Porsche and definitely beats any Mercedes or BMW. The materials – leather, wood trim and alloys are used inside the cabin, these are top notch items, and “fit and finish meets what you would expect from a German luxury saloon”. I like the cars made by the Volkswagen group, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche; the company surely knows how to compensate (if there is any) any of their shortcomings from the use of soft-touch dashboard and leather.


    The entry-level Panamera is to be powered by a 3.6-litre Volkwagen narrow-angle V6 good for 300 horsepower. Add an electric motor and it will become a 350hp hybrid. For now, you can buy only the more expensive V8 models – Panamera S and 4S are both powered by a 400hp, 4.8 litres V8, their difference lies in RWD or 4WD only. The naturally aspirated V8 models are priced from B$ 235,000 to B$ 329,150. Porsche Panamera is quite an expensive car and possibly the most expensive ever in the automobile market here in Brunei. I’m not sure it’s indirect rival and sibling (under the Volkswagen umbrella), the Audi R8 compares with this in terms of the price and performance. But then again, the abovementioned cars are different than each other, one is an expensive but cheaper Lamborghini equivalent and the other is a sports luxury saloon car. Both cars appeals to different markets but then again today are different times, saloon luxury cars can now appeal the most automobile enthusiasts out there.


    Like this post? Let me know by posting a comment! By the way do follow my personal twitter hasrulaizan, the best way to contact me.

    • bit 10:23 pm on November 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Good Write Up Hasrul! Here’s a local VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) Club Blog if you’re interested.
      cheers! hope to hear from you soon!
      p/s: the Panamera is wicked!

      • Hasrul 10:44 am on November 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the feedback! I have always been in awe with anything automobile that is do with the Volkswagen Audi Group. I have an upcoming Volkswagen Scirocco review, please do stay tune!

        • Eva Wanda 4:50 pm on November 18, 2009 Permalink

          A breather is all I can say Hasrul, a change is good 🙂 Love the Panamera and your writing. Too bad the beauty is beyond my means :p Look forward to your Scirocco review, another tongue-twister!

  • Hasrul 10:00 am on October 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brunei Travel   

    Beautiful Brunei 

    I finally have the time to transfer my iPhone pictures to my notebook, and came across this set of beautiful sunset at the beach pictures that I took during my summer vacation. The first year examinations had just ended and my uni friends decided to have a barbeque at a friend’s beach house, where we have such a blast especially when we have our own private beach.

    iPhone pictures 078


    Can you believe that all the pictures in this post is taken with my first generation iPhone. It was such a beautiful day.

    iPhone pictures 210

    iPhone pictures 086


    I especially like the clouds found in all the pictures, it looks like a delicate white bird made of snowy clouds, extending it’s wings towards the sunset.


    iPhone pictures 011


    Here, the golden sunset casts a reflection on the wet sand, I remembered at that time everything felt as if it was at standstill, the sound of the waves hitting the sand brings feelings of peace and serenity.

    iPhone pictures 207 


    Then the moment the sun sets, sounds of the birds and trees cause tremors and brings goose bumps; it’s as if nature was sad that the sun have retired for the day. Everything, the sky and the water turns deep violet.


    iPhone pictures 148


    By then, the beach was already dark and my iPhone camera with the flash absent, finally gave up from its limitations. Brunei please make sure this stays for our sons and daughters to enjoy in many many years to come!

  • Hasrul 6:17 pm on August 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Dermalogica Facial 

    Time flies so fast, and now its the fasting month and in another three weeks is Hari Raya celebration! Well in an attempt to look good for Hari Raya and hopefully have a glowing complexion! Especially the large amount of pictures that you will be taking during Hari Raya, obviously you would want to look your best. This is it, a reputable and revolutionary and perhaps to only place in Brunei where you could have a good facial. Get this: using a brand which actually does works, Dermalogica!

    I have to admit, I have only found out about the goodness of the brand when I travel to London during the summer holidays last July! Holiday sale shopping in London is heavenly for a shopaholic like me and especially when you’re also a beauty junkie! I actually saw Dermalogica products sold over the counter at John Lewis, one of the premier department stores in Oxford Street, London. The prices for the products falls under the high end, but seeing that each will probably last you 4-5 months, I’d say its a pretty good investment when you know that the products you apply makes your face achieve that healthy glow.

    Anyway, I was ecstatic to find out here in Brunei where someone would hardly find high end beauty products (unless ofcourse you consider products above $10 is high end) that Dermaline, Kiulap sells Dermalogica products. Plus the opportunity to experience a number of facial choices made available to you.

    iPhone pictures 164

    Anyway, I was greeted by a trained facialist where I voiced out my skin concerns and which problem areas needed to be fixed. She determined that I have a normal-combination skin, which is quite normal for anyone who lives in hot countries. The skin releases sebum as a result from the hot and humid Brunei environment, and if not properly washed, it will allow skin bacteria to thrive and multiply, and you’ll end up getting skin blemishes and worse skin acne.

    She recommended the Skin Balancing facial, the basic facial offered in Dermaline to revitalise and freshen up tired and fatigued skin. I am led to a treatment room which reminded me a dental clinic. My concerns gradually gone when the classical music was on and the light was dimmed. It really felt just like being in a spa!

    The facial steam coming off infused and open the facial pores to allow deep cleansing and absorbed the wonderful Dermalogica products effectively. I find the facial such a delight, the pre-cleanse gel contains scents of eucalyptus, chamomile and hobs essential oil. I can also feel the a mild mint essential oil. It really does makes a terrific job of calming my skin. The facialist skilled fingers using facial lymphatic massages enables the flushing of toxins and ease the tense of facial muscles. It was such a delightful feeling.

    iPhone pictures 218

    I am told that the products used during facials are more effective because the ingredients are much more concentrated and potent. This is true, because I can definitely notice the effects on my skin straight after the facial. Afterwards, the facialist recommended take home products that I can use to prolonged the glowy effects. Dermaline Kiulap really paves the way to allow more high end beauty products sold here in Brunei. The next time when I have a bad skin day, I know just the place to go.

    iPhone pictures 268

    Verdict: 8/10

    Dermaline skin balancing facial costs around $50. It’s located on the first floor, and shares the same building with Chong Hock Kiulap. Do tell Dermaline that I recommended!

    Happy fasting everyone 🙂

    Related posts:

    Alpha H facial at the Mall

    • Chen 11:32 pm on January 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      So how much did everything cost including the take home products? I feel like going there now really have bad skin day 😦

  • Hasrul 12:41 am on August 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Cheapest reflexology in town: $10 spa 

    Just when I thought I have found the cheapest one hour reflexology treatment last month (see Haniesah Spa Kiulap $15) a friend of mine showed me one spa which only costs a mere sum of $10! Of course, I can’t wait to try the cheapest reflexology treatment in town.


    I just discovered the mini spa joints and outlets in Batu Besurat – and there is even one building that accommodates four spas! Talk about stiff competition! Hence some spas follow the I have the cheapest treatment to attract people to come and try out the treatments on offer. The cheapest reflexology treatment at the time of writing is at Treatmine Health Care, Batu Besurat.

    Here is my review of Treatmine Health Care:


    First Impressions:

    Well just by looking at the price, I didn’t expect much from the spa except for the foot treatment itself. It is actually a bit difficult to locate the spa in Batu Besurat and the roads can be quite confusing especially to go and about. Finally, I was to locate the spa on the first floor of the building complex, the stairs leading up to the spa aren’t really flattering. It was dark and poorly lit and the door was not welcoming. It didn’t exude the sense of stepping into another world, that escape from the real world that you yearn for every time you enter a spa.

    How did they welcome you?

    Not much – I was not greeted at all with the empty reception. It left me wandering around for two minutes before being one of the employees asking what treatment I would like. He then showed me a list of treatments available such as a list of $10 treatments which includes ear candling, neck & shoulder massage, the signature foot reflexology and other treatments. All you have to do is to avail yourself around 10am until 4pm to get the off peak prices. I chose the foot reflexology from a friend’s recommendation.


    As you can see from the blurry picture above, the spa area is pretty basic, it involves a cushy-sofa bed and where you lay your legs on when you experience the foot reflexology treatment. The therapist did not speak any word of English or Malay. My futile attempts to communicate with the therapist which included adjusting the pressure of the massage was unsuccessful. I finally had to just try to enjoy the foot reflexology treatment however in my mind was restless thinking critically whether paying cheap means I have to get a much less enjoyable spa time.

    There’s also the problem with the ergonomics of the chair itself, the place where you rest your head and neck is way too low for my neck to rest, this led to a mild sprain on my neck afterwards! It does spoils the reason why you would go to a spa in the first place.

    Verdict: 3/10 since cheap price I’ll give an extra point so 4/10

    Treatmine Health Care

    Lot 7753 Unit 8 Block A

    1st floor, Jln Batu Besurat

    Call in 245-0316

  • Hasrul 5:40 pm on June 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    Hello readers, I am on vacation in London at the moment. I will be resuming back to writing reviews and blogging mid-July 09 after my vacation. Stay tuned for London posts and shops blogs.

    Till then.

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