Words: Claire Matheson Photos: Monica Tindall
I am not in Kim and Kanye’s entourage. Nor have I ever written a hit number one single, making me worthy of having my name added to ‘The List’ at an MTV black and white pool party, but there is a secret part of me – the part that owns too many lipsticks and pairs of shoes – that harbours a secret desire to be a fabulous diva rock goddess. And if there’s one thing to be learnt from scrolling through Instagram, it’s that I’m not alone! Come on, ‘fess up! You all want to live like an A-List Hollywood celeb, even if it’s just for one day.
If this sounds like you, then I have found the perfect place to get your glam on. The place where the cool people are! In fact, upon entering The St Regis, Kuala Lumpur’s newest luxury five star hotel, with all its glitz and opulence, I half expect a seven foot tall towering hulk of a man, with bulging muscles and a discreet earbud radio to tap me on the shoulder and quietly escort me to the nearest exit.
Walking into the lobby it is clear this is not just another hotel, it is an homage to art, to luxury, to that level of exclusivity that we mere mortals can only dream of. With their signature private butler service and a carefully curated private art collection, including staggering and awe inspiring commissioned works by Fernando Botero, Mark Evans and Barnaby Hosking, the entire hotel feels like a cordoned off VIP room hidden behind red velvet ropes.
Today we are headed to the rooftop pool to check out Crystal, The St. Regis’ trendy restaurant and cocktail bar. The restaurant spans two levels. On the bottom, a bar and lounge look out over the infinity pool and you can eat or drink outside either at one of the private poolside cabanas, or while reclining on a soft, plump sun lounger. Outdoor settings are classically monochrome in black and white, while the bar inside is wall to wall glass, crystal and mirrors, with a gobsmacking hand blown sculptured chandelier and furnishings in soft greys and pinks. St. Regis diamonds are disguised everywhere: in the walls, the cushions, the side tables. Spotting them all is a drinking game waiting to happen!
Upstairs, a small dining space extends out to one side, an entire wall made up of bevelled edge rectangular mirrors. They catch the light and throw it carelessly around the room, illuminating more hidden diamonds, highlights of brighter pinks, soft furnishings, and wall to wall glass bi-fold doors which open to reveal views of the Petronas Twin Towers, the Menara KL Tower and the KL National Museum, all interspersed with lush green forest. Another hand blown glass light installation hangs from the ceiling, this time in an array of muted purples, pinks, yellows and greys. Touches of cream tie the décor together, with foamy linen napkins and coasters embossed with the St. Regis crest lending an additional touch of lavishness. Upstairs on the other side, an elevated outdoor terrace is adorned with inviting outdoor couches, and large, funky, illuminated tables. It is the perfect space for a live band or DJ.
Perhaps most fabulous of all is the gigantic LED Media Wall that, with the touch of a button, emerges from a wall and glides out to hang over the infinity pool. It is the size of a house. I imagine bobbing around on a pool float watching the ginormous screen on Grand Final night! It is the ultimate backdrop for product launches and video releases. Already, Crystal has companies lining up to book product launches and magnificent private parties. Marketing Communications Manager Angelica Wong rattles off a list of current guests including international design houses, luxury car companies and dignitaries, making our jaws drag on the ground. Who? You ask. Our lips are sealed, sweeties!
Reclining in one of their comfortable grey couches, we are brought two of Crystal’s signature cocktails. The first is the Assam Bloody Mary. A fan of Bloody Marys at the best of times, the addition of Malaysia’s unique spices and assam boi infused vodka adds new depth to the heady mix of tomato and vegetable juices, smoked paprika and Sarawak black pepper. Not shaken or stirred, Crystal’s Bloody Mary is thrown, teh tarik style between cocktail shakers. This Malaysian method lightly combines and enhances flavours instead of breaking down the components.
The Birthday Cake is Crystal’s most famous cocktail. An Instagram idol, it is an adults only chocolate milkshake. Baileys and Bourbon are added to a Malaysian favourite – the Milo Dinosaur, and then topped with whipped cream and coloured sprinkles. It is the most fun cupcake you’ll have this year!
Crystal’s food and drinks menu is all about striking a balance between popular international cuisine, Malaysian influences and ingredients, and a level of heightened luxury and decadence. Chef Ahmad Khairul has developed a menu with high standards that is sure to please.
For the perfect poolside snack, you can’t go past the curried prawns with traditional lace patterned pancakes, rolled for dipping. The curry sauce is refreshingly light and fragrant, the prawns thick, juicy and plump. Long after the prawns are gone, the thin pancakes soak up all the leftover sauce, absorbent in their delicate sponginess.
If you want something to really sink your teeth into, Khairul serves a burger that is divine and completely self-indulgent! Starting with an ultra-tender Black Angus patty, lightly herbed and served on a soft, sweet sesame seed bun, he adds lettuce, caramelised onion, a thick cut serving of melted cheese, and tops it off with rich, sumptuous foie gras and shavings of black truffle. With a heaping of fries, pickles, and more foie gras and truffle on the side, this is pure decadence!
If a Foie Gras and Truffle Burger isn’t extravagant enough, then perhaps the Satay Lobster is! Perfectly pink and succulent, half a lobster is topped with Khairul’s secret creamy satay sauce. As an accompaniment, a smoky Malaysian style fried rice is enriched with the addition of Hokkaido scallops and tiger prawns and topped with a criss-cross lattice of fried egg.
When the karaoke bars and your hairbrush microphone in front of your bathroom mirror just aren’t cutting it anymore, and you need an escape from the mundane and routine, then put on your funkiest threads, flashiest bling and biggest sunglasses, practice your swagger, and head for St. Regis’ Crystal Rooftop Bar. Playing the rock star is much more fun when there’s a glass of bubbly in hand!
Reasons to visit: Depending on your palate, the Bloody Mary is for those who like salty and sour, and the Birthday Cake is a great sweet treat. Regardless of your drink choice, our tastebuds voted for the Foie Gras and Truffle Burger!