The Kuala Lumpur hotel and bar scene has turned really hot recently. Any doubts you may have about that will be gone after reading this! Many of the global five-star brands have arrived to significantly shake things up and, in the process, step up the sophistication and increase the luxury selection.
The impressive line-up includes Banyan Tree, Four Seasons, St. Regis and W that have all debuted, turning the Malaysian capital into a really strong contender, with many more attention-grabbing venues than were previously the case.
First out in this city update is however a local contender; the refurbished Sunway Putra Hotel (classified as five star). Sunway Putra is easily accessible via two nearby stations: a commuter railway as well as LRT and offers a shuttle to KLCC for guests.
Some of the room categories will in particular appeal to guests from the Nordics, given their design with white, blonde wood and a blue-hued carpet.
There are deluxe, family and club rooms and suites to choose from, all with ample size and comfortable lounge chairs. Club rooms come at affordable prices for club lounge access with its panorama view of the city and Petronas Towers in the distance.
Closer to KLCC we find another gem in the form of Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur (Autograph Collection by Marriott), which will appeal to both modern and guests more into a classic feel.
Reflecting the rich character of the neighbourhood Hotel Stripes comes with an extra front facade made of red brick wall and metal framework. Its décor draws on its traditional surrounds; for instance the red brick arcades in restaurant Brasserie 25, or the enlarged photographs from the neighbourhood of yesteryear, above the oversized rooms’ bed heads and bed lamps.
Today’s surroundings offer a shopping center and cool cafes, bars and restaurants on a nearby street with Art Deco houses – Row Jalan Doraisamy.
All room types are amazingly planned and designed into the last detail, with a sofa at the foot of the super comfy bed, on a brown-greenish leaf-patterned carpet. A frosted glass window separates the sandy marble clad en-suite bathroom.
The inviting Brasserie 25 (with semi-private crescent sofas in mustard yellow) offers a refreshing and delectable French-style menu, with dishes such as Pan-roasted black cod fillet with ratatouille, or Stewed white bean with lamb sausage and duck confit. The brasserie serves excellent cocktails too, such as French Blonde or The Montparnasse.
Also don’t miss the quintessential Le Goûter experience: Afternoon tea the French way, where exquisite pastries and savouries with a local twist are served to your table from trays.
Next up is Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, situated in a new shiny 65 stories skyscraper next to the twin towers, where no expense has been spared to surpass expectations and raise the bar.
And this hotel’s probably most stunning venue – too many outlets to highlight here – is a swish, sophisticated cocktail bar with absolutely stunning interiors. Bar Trigona – in this sleek new cocktail bar, discover where creative cocktails collide with the most coveted masters of their craft. Named after the native trigona bee, this discerning venue boasts hand-crafted cocktails and curated spirits, where artisan bartender Ashish Sharma is at the helm. Try classic cocktails with a re-imagined twist while savouring the luxury design and skyline outside.
Among the hotel’s extraordinary culinary experiences, out to redefine the city’s epicurean scene, is cutting edge CurATE, where the international buffet menu is infused with an assortment of local and seasonal sustainable ingredients.
The same is in focus at the next wow hotel, the most significant recent entry to the ranks, which is nearby W Hotel Kuala Lumpur. At its open kitchen all-day Flock every bite from the appetisers to the entrées and desserts are ethically and locally sourced, fresh and organically grown.
The local roots and traditions that are maintained by the city while keen on always embracing what comes next is a perfect balance act that have been fully embraced by the vibrantly designed W hotel.
Kuala Lumpur as a jungle city – nature is juxtaposed against architecture with towering skyscrapers emerging from the canopy of green – is the theme for the Welcome area with its modern nods to the jungle (streaming LED lights mimic waterfalls, ceiling patterns depict an artistic interpretation of Kuala Lumpur’s topography etc.).
Staircases, ceilings… every venue and design detail are attention-grabbers! So are the rooms with their vibrant colours, mixing W signature beds and other essentials with traditional accents.
The multifunctional WET Deck, the hotel’s swimming pool on level 12 overlooking KLCC, transcends into a club venue by nightfall showcasing cutting-edge DJ music mixing and cocktails. This is truly a welcome concept and vibe for Kuala Lumpur’s local discerning crowd and visitors.
Nature also inspires the cocktail concoctions, using infused exotic local ingredients, including coconut, tuak, Tualang royal black honey, and more.
For more cocktails and city views we head to the opposite side of Petronas Towers where all-new Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur (managed by Swede Anders Dimblad) lies just near Paragon mall, and that literally takes the city’s sky bar scene to new heights.
There, you are whisked to floor 59 via express elevators for a Banyan Tree signature experience and panorama views of the whole valley!
The indoor/outdoor Vertigo sky bar comes with a menu to match the elevated setting. Some picks: ‘Sur Mesure’ cocktail with hazelnut, Kraken Spiced Rum, Gula Melaka (palm sugar), Frangelico, Monin coconut syrup and fresh Lime; white Pinot Grigio, “Placido” Banfi, Tuscany or red Pinot Noir, Wairau River, Marlborough; and for tapas Beef Tartare (hand cut Angus steak tartare, marinated Fresh Black Peppers, shallot, capers and Wakame seaweed), Turmeric spiced Atlantic salmon; or Spiced roasted steak skewer with spicy chimichurri Sauce, avocado guacamole and mini naan bread.
Visits to Kuala Lumpur usually start or ends via KL Sentral, which is increasingly growing into a city in the city, and where this report’s last stop is St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. If time permits stop by for relaxed happy hour drinks in really plush surroundings at its Astor Bar & Decanter. This is a setting where to celebrate any moment!
Drink O’Clock takes place during three generous hours from 5 pm, including cocktails like Lychee Martini, Strawberry Margarita and Passion Daiquiri. St. Regis’ specialty cocktails must not be overlooked with titles like ‘Cuban Gentleman’ and ‘Phone Booth’ (Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila combined with passion fruit juice, yuzu vinegar, grenadine syrup, lime juice and peach liqueur topped with soda). After this you’ll feel just ready for wherever the journey takes you next. Cheers! ‘À votre santé! Skål!