Whenever I think of Genting Highlands, the first thing that always comes to my mind is the casino and theme park. Well, it has been a few years since I visited, so when I was recently sent to review the rooms at the First World Hotel’s newly refurbished Tower 2 Annex, I was pleasantly surprised by how much it has evolved through the years.

While it still has that entertainment factor, Resorts World Genting now offers so much more than just that.

At the hotel lobby, we had the experience of checking ourselves in using a fully automated E-Kiosk self check-in system. The process was fast and seamless, taking less than five minutes, and friendly hotel staff were on hand to assist.

Resorts World Genting is one of the pioneers in implementing this E-Kiosk system, minimising the long queues at the reception. Key cards are dispensed by the kiosk.

Bold colours in contemporary designs greeted our eyes while full-length glass panels offered a breathtaking view of the mountains at the walkway leading to the Tower 2 Annex. Atmospheric chill-out music added to the ambience.

We had lunch at Terminal 2, so called because of its grab-and-go concept just like in an airport. Hearty freshly made sandwiches, pastries and beverages – from juices to soft drinks, even beer – are available at this self-service cafe that overlooks the mountains in the distance through its glass panels. WiFi is also available.

The XYZ Deluxe room was comfy, compact and had all the basic facilities like twin beds, hot and cold shower, TV, an open hanging cupboard for storage, safety deposit box and mini-fridge. Photo: Resorts World Genting

The XYZ Deluxe room. Photo: Resorts World Genting

There are four types of refurbished rooms at the First World Hotel: World Club room, Superior Deluxe room, XYZ Deluxe room and XYZ Triple room.

Functional yet chic, the simple yet elegant rooms come in lively vibrant splashes of yellow and contemporary design. Frosted lime-green glass walls act as dividers between the shower, sink and toilet, making it convenient for roommates to take care of their needs at the same time without having to queue up for the bathroom in the mornings.

The rooms come with either two single beds or a double, and an open cupboard, as well as a safety deposit box and mini fridge.

The Superior Deluxe and XYZ Deluxe rooms offer either two single beds or one queen bed, while XYZ Triple rooms, which are suitable for a group of three, offer a single bed and a queen bed.

The huge World Club room offers a single bed and a queen bed plus a huge sofa. The room that I stayed in was the XYZ Deluxe.

Each room has a USB socket for guests to charge their mobile phones or other electronic devices, plus an international plug socket. The only thing the rooms did not have is WiFi, mainly because guests are encouraged to spend time enjoying the facilities at the resort rather than spend all their time in the room.

True to its family-friendly concept, First World Resort Hotel offers more than just a casino.

First World Hotel exterior view. Tower 2 Annex is the colourful block at the far left. Photo: Resorts World Genting

First World Hotel exterior view. Tower 2 Annex is the colourful block at the far left. Photo: Resorts World Genting

Travellers who love to shop would definitely be in paradise, with all the international and local brand name outlets available.

Foodies will also have a grand time with many gastronomical options, from local stalls and fast-food outlets to classy cafes. And next year, the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park, Genting Premium Outlet and Sky Avenue shopping mall will be unveiled.

After a year-and-a-half of planning and renovations at the cost of RM300mil, the Tower 2 Annex now has 1,286 rooms. It’s not surprising then that the hotel has once again made it into the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest hotel – with 7,351 rooms.

For a hotel of such magnitude, one question might arise: How do they cope with all the dirty linen from all those rooms?

This was answered by the next stop on our itinerary: The First World Hotel laundry, one of the largest in Malaysia. Its tunnel washer for continuous batch washing is the first of its kind in South-East Asia. Sixty-eight machines and equipment are part of the process in washing 40,000kg of linen daily. That’s a mind-blowing 75,000 pieces a day!

Guests can check out in under a minute using the Self Check-Out Kiosk at the hotel lobby.

Guests can check out in under a minute using the Self Check-Out Kiosk at the hotel lobby.

Next, we visited Horizon 50, a showcase of the hotel’s history and latest developments in Resorts World Genting, in conjunction with its 50th anniversary this year.

Watching the Superstars of Magic 4 Show, with six international illusionists weaving their unique style of magic on stage, was a highlight of the night.

The next morning, we experienced how fast and easy it was to check out using the Self Check-Out Kiosk at the hotel lobby. It took less than a minute!

We were told that the fully automated system makes things more efficient, with direct transmission to that floor to inform housekeeping so the room gets cleaned faster and the next guest can check in sooner. With a daily turnaround of 4,313 rooms per day, such smooth operations are important.