No doubt we complain about the rising cost of EVERYTHING in Malaysia, but there is something that remains officially one of the most affordable in the world, and that is luxury accommodation. Compare standard hotel rates around the globe and when you convert the currency you find yourself gasping at the figures. Turn the tables however, thinking as a foreigner might, and all of a sudden a very nice holiday, in a very nice place, comes at a very nice price.
Take some of our standard business hotels for example. I did a quick comparison on line of entry-level room rates for a single night for a well-reputed five star property in the centre of Kuala Lumpur and the centre of a few major cities around the world. Here’s what I found:
Buenos Aires: RM837
New York: RM792
Kuala Lumpur: RM439
As you can see KL came out 50 – 70% cheaper!
Taking full advantage of saving time and money on not traveling abroad, we think we can spend a little extra on lushing up a staycation. And, a recent stay in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur certainly fit the bill.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s location at KL Sentral makes it convenient for visitors coming in from the airport via the KLIA Express, and also for anyone on a train, LRT or monorail line wanting to ditch the car (and traffic) for the weekend. Having a brand new shopping mall next door (Nu Sentral), Lake Gardens across the road, Little India on one side and Bangsar on the other, provides plenty of opportunities for eating, entertainment, activity and shopping. We find though, that there’s so much going on at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, that apart from appreciating the ease of access and gorgeous green views provided by the parkland over the way, we don’t even attempt to make use of the conveniences in its neighbours.
Benefiting from a systematic renovation schedule, everything at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur is shiny and contemporary. The lobby rises up three stories with a giant glass wall overlooking a sea of verdant treetops. Although we didn’t have time to squeeze in an afternoon tea here on this particular visit, we think it’s one of the best in the city (as confirmed in a date a few weeks back). The former British executive chef left his recipe for scones, and we’re yet to find another in KL that can beat it.
Food and beverage at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur is given high importance. Each outlet has a distinctive design transporting guests to the place of origin of each menu. You can travel from China, to Japan to Europe, all within the same building with the restaurants Chynna, Iketeru and Graze. (Click on the names to find photos, prices and our favourite dishes at each.) Chambers takes carnivores to Elysian Fields with their meat cave, and Vasco’s furnishes an ultra-modern take on an international buffet spread. Don’t expect to see the same menu week after week either as Hilton Kuala Lumpur is known for hosting a range of wonderful events such as wine dinners and whisky tastings (we happened to sample a few of The Macallan’s acclaimed drops with their brand ambassador on our Friday night arrival, and have taken advantage of more than a few wine paired meals at Graze). Late nights with live bands and a mighty drinks selection is found at Zeta Bar, which, by the way, has its own channel streamed live to rooms and suites.
So. Rooms. Suites. Presidential Suite!
With over 500 rooms and suites, the Hilton Kuala Lumpur accommodates an array of budgets and requirements. Entry levels rooms, with all of the expected amenities, begin at 38sq.m, and move up to rooms with Executive Lounge access, suites (89sq.m), and for those wanting additional luxury, there’s a Presidential Suite and Penthouse.
The Presidential Suite is spread over two floors, with a living and dining area, office and guest bathroom downstairs, and expansive bedroom and bathroom taking the top level. Elegance and style is portrayed in timelessly chic furnishings and lighting. A neutral palette with splashes of colour and metallics have a calming effect, as do the double story windows and luxuriant floor to ceiling curtains.
A marble entryway opens the eye to the stately bottom floor. Immediately grabbing attention is a day bed, plump with cushions positioned by the window and overlooking the leafy park. Natural light streams through, and I claimed it instantly as ‘my spot’ for the weekend – imaging books, wine and coffee (courtesy of the in-room espresso machine) all in the same scene. Hubby had other ideas, and the giant flat screen TV and lounge was where he took roost. A sizeable office and dining table surrounded by tasteful pieces of art made us imagine staying here for much longer than merely a weekend. And, with the amount of wardrobe space upstairs, we well could have packed for a week or more.
Besides abundant storage (always appreciated in keeping hotel rooms clutter-free), a luxuriously dressed king-size bed, another flat screen TV, mini-bar, sitting area and spacious (understatement) bathroom fills the top storey. Double sinks, bathtub big enough for two, dresser, large shower with multiple streams (rain, hand and rainforest spray) and separate toilet (large enough to squeeze another set of amenities into!) might just be near equivalent in square footage to some inner city apartments we’ve come across. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).
If it weren’t for all of those food and beverage options, and leisure facilities (I’m just about to get to those), we might not have been tempted to even step outside the room, (ahem… I mean Presidential Suite) over the weekend.
The eighth floor of the Hilton Kuala Lumpur however is just fabulous. What must be the longest pool in the city spans the decks of both the Hilton and its immediate neighbour Le Meridien. Winding in lagoon like fashion, it is edged with recliners and umbrellas, more of those pretty views of the park in the foreground and city skyline in the background, and well kept landscaping. A slide, water fountains and a bubbling Jacuzzi turn it into a playground for all.
On the same level the fitness centre benefits from loads of natural light, and considerable square footage. The variety and quality of equipment here shows the level just as high an independent membership gymnasium, rather than a hotel’s fitness room. Strength and cardio machines are plentiful, as to are free weights and supplementary resources such as mats, and balls.
Of high interest, attached to the health centre, is The Spa. A quality menu of facials, body treatments and massages frame a solid list of services. Whether nipping in for a post workout muscle de-stress or booking in for a longer pampering session, therapists and products are of high quality. A late Saturday afternoon appointment was perfect for us, providing a retreat from the tropical storm that often hits at the same time, as the sound of the rain supplied an unexpected nature relaxation soundtrack. As mentioned earlier, our suite was so pleasant that it was tempting to stay put for the weekend. If that too is your style, you’ll be happy to know that The Spa can arrange to send the therapists to you for an in-room massage.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur has a number of packages that make a staycation even more attractive. Check out their latest offers via the website here.
Reasons to visit: convenient location; excellent food and beverage outlets; beautiful pool (perhaps even the most lovely in KL); well-equipped gym and spa; contemporary rooms.