Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Citta Mall, Ara Damansara PJ - a nice new alternative

*got this from their website

Citta Mall may well be in my Top 5 list of favourite malls. It is not a typical mall where we ladies would go to shop til we drop. Rather, it is a large open space mall for mommies to chill without being bothered. There's plenty of photos I took below so feel free to click on them to get a clearer image.

I think it started opening to visitors mid 2011. On my first visit, I wasn't that impressed because the place was pretty much empty. On my 2nd visit earlier this month though, I realised that they have quite an impressive array of eateries like Chilli's, Pappa Rich, San Francisco Coffee, McDonalds, Chawan and plenty others that we may not be familiar with, but set out in such a warm atmosphere that mommies like me who need their sanity intact every once in awhile would welcome. The place still has a few clothing outlets for you to browse around but I was more interested in checking out some outlets for my kids' development and basically just relax my mind in the huge, uncrowded open space.

I saw this during my first visit and was looking forward to check them out when I have the time.

they also have this sign when you enter the mall. I don't know about you, but a baby room is definitely one of our top priorities when visiting malls.

when I went there yesterday morning, the place was pretty much empty but not deserted. there are ample parking bays and parking is still free at the moment!

I so love the drop off area. so huge, spacious & handicap/baby stroller-friendly.

I am not sure if you would enjoy the ambience as much as I do, though, because first of all, Citta Mall adopts some kind of energy-saving environment-friendly concept (I think! I do not know and so I assume). This is because the building has a good layout where you'd basically be able to see the entire wing opposite of you, the set up is open-spaced and aired by either the natural breeze (which can be none when it gets really hot) or the plenty of fans set on their ceiling. I saw on foursquare of some people condemning this concept but I guess if it doesn't fit to your standards, there are waaay many other malls for you to go. Well, most of them would complain of the heat due to the lack of air-conditioning at the open areas as it could get really hot. I've tried hanging out sitting along the walkways and walking around from 9am-1pm yesterday but I have no complaints, whatsoever on this concept. Even their travellators and escalators use some smart technology where it only starts to move when you step on them. Brilliant!

they have travellators and the normal escalators. they even have open air staircases if you prefer to exercise your thighs. note the fans at the ceiling, plenty of them!

when I snapped this, the fans look as if they're turned off. they're all turned on actually...

there are still many empty shoplots, most of them a work-in-progress. and look, more fans!

My only complaint, though, would be that almost ALL their shops open around 10am. Like hello... for a busy WAHM like moi, I would buy groceries at Village Grocer or Cold Storage as early as 8am and they would already be open. In fact, the cafes at KLCC opens as early as 8am. So, I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to hang out at San Francisco Coffee, as I had hoped.

Oh, and I have another complain... at some areas of the mall, you will get no connection to your phone lines *whee*

But, as they say, there's always a blessing in disguise. As I was there early in the morning and almost all the eateries were not open yet, I got the chance to discover a very cozy place called Dr Cafe which opens at 9am. Their coffee is good but what surprised me most was their delicious breakfast!

I had chicken tortilla wrap and they've impressed me from the time they served the meal and coffee to me. And to add cherry to the icing, there was free wifi! Superb!

Actually, the reason I decided to while away time in Citta Mall was because I've been meaning to check out 2 outlets:
1. Julia Gabriel - the children enrichment centre on level 3; and,
2. Presto - their supposed fresh groceries shop on the lower ground floor.

And since I was only supposed to leave around 1pm to pick up my eldest, I thought I should just relax, enjoy the ambience and do some work on my laptop. I am not sure if it's just me but I do feel that the relaxing ambience helps in creating a friendly atmosphere in this area. I mean, the people who work here are all so calm, friendly and helpful. Even the guy at the information counter was super friendly.

Anyways, below are more photos I took...

a fresh fruit stall...

they call this, Stickhouse - think gelato on sticks ;)

click to view pricing of their gelato on sticks... yums.

super huge area and yeayyy a bookstore!

I am not sure what this outlet is about. the signage kinda give me the impression that it is a children's development centre but when I visited Citta Mall's fb page, it seems that they even have yoga classes for adults on Sunday. hmmm...

Children Development Centres
drawing classes with a unique touch at Jane Yap.

why I said unique? well, the outlet looks really posh.

now this was what I wanted to check out - Julia Gabriel. the staff gave me a short tour of their beautiful outlet, I am sooooo in LOVE with this place! but I wasn't allowed to take any photos inside so I hope these are enough.

believe it or not, this is the reading room from the outside. I know Jada would so love this room. it's amazing. it's like you have any comfortable spot a child wants to sit to read and the room is so inviting!

this is not the best quality picture but you can see the plentiful number of books all suitable for your child's age group. I so look forward to bringing Jada here...

and just outside the outlet, is a huge play area, clean and very pretty. there are 2 sections, possibly for different age groups. I know Jebat will have a ball if we let him loose here.

one of the sections of the play area...

the colourful, spacious and family-friendly baby room...

Presto wasn't as good as Village Grocer or Cold Storage but they're pretty decent. price wise, they're still alright but selections are a hits and misses here and there. and look at the picture... they're quite creative and up-to-date, no?

this is lovely....

you can actually rent a space say for seminars, functions and whatnots...

I also love the fact that the management of the mall pays attention to details. I see security guards almost everywhere! They do not make me feel intimidated nor do I feel like the place is not safe but the way they are all stationed are so apt that they take you, as a visitor seriously. I like that feeling of security and they're available when you need help.

A lot of people in forums would comment how much unwelcomed they feel when visiting Citta Mall. But I believe all these lie within yourself. How inviting or welcomed do you expect to feel? What are the criteria to meet that expectation?

Of course, there are plenty of areas for improvement. I like it the way it is and I look forward to seeing it grow but I also do think the management should update their website. First of all, they do not have all their outlets listed in their website or rather, they are too slow for me to upload, I am not sure. The website can be very slow too at times and I don't get the icons of the 4 people who can give you a different experience while browsing the site. Like I thought if I click on a fashionable woman, she'd recommend me spas and whatnot. Instead, I only have the site in different background colour. That's all.

Their store guide is also not updated because as I point my mouse to mynews.com, it says "opening soon" when it is already fully operational. I don't get it. To me, yes, impressive layout, very appealing to the niche market but in modern times like this, a website needs to always be updated. Since they are pretty new, this is where people like me go for information. They also do not have their facebook page linked on their site and that I find weird.

Anyhoo, I still enjoy going there and so far, the last two times I was there, were for a gathering of sorts with fellow mommies. Therefore, I do think that it might be a hit among mommies who need some peace and quiet but can laugh out loud when hanging out with their buddies without people judging them?? >.<

Has any of you been to Citta Mall? They fondly call the mall, the Tree, in their fb page.


plue said...

the biggest problem i guess would most probably the accessibility, but then again, since it's a neighbourhood mall, mostly those who live nearby would go there, so not so much of an issue i guess.

i'm itching to try out Dr Cafe, since u say got good breakfast and free wifi! HOHOHO

beetrice said...

ooh I love Stickhouse! :p you're right, it's a bit out of the way but parking is plentiful and i'm sure more shops will open soon. :) will have to try that place you recommended sometime!

prettybeautiful.net said...

it definitely looks like a place for kids and families. maybe i will just stick to 1u for now ;)

toughcookie said...

ya, i forgot to mention that it appeals to a niche market and a neighbourhood mall. it is very nearby for me.

do let me know if you managed to try the breakfast at Dr Cafe. it is just a small cafe but very cozy. yeah, and free wifi makes all the difference! :)

toughcookie said...

i didn't get a chance to try anything from Stickhouse... good, eh? next time i go there, i shall indulge :)

if it's convenient for everyone, can even have our gossip session at citta mall haha...

toughcookie said...

hehe yeah... you do that...

Libby Koay said...

We lurve the Bubba Gump at Citta mall! it has a super cosy family room for private functions, seats up to 15 pax or so. We've had a no. of memorable family gatherings there. The staff r nice n friendly at BGumps ( most everyone else in cittamall is nice & friendly too!). I guess it's all boils down to d unique setting & strip mall layout of citta mall that renders an aura of laid-back, stress free, time to live one-day-at-time feeling ;D

Bhavna Bhalla said...

i live in PJ section 14 (near Jaya shopping plaza). Since i do not have my own vehicle, i am not sure how i can reach this mall. Can you tell me which bus i can take?

Rekha Raj said...

It was lovely to read your blog! But, unfortunately I couldn't view your pics. :( I just moved in to Pacific Place. Just wondering if there is a shop for bedding sets in Citta Mall?