Many travellers only visit KL for the vast selection of reasonably priced shopping and to experience the wonderful Malaysian food…
This blog is the second report concerning my familiarisation trip to Kuala Lumpur (compliments of Gold Medal Travel Group) which gave me an insight into this vibrant city.
I am not going into great detail with description of room types etc. at each hotel which can easily be accessed online but just to give some personal impressions of the hotels we visited.
Shangri la Hotel
We were fortunate to be staying at this luxurious property for a few nights.
The twin towers and KL tower (a bit further), many of the shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment are within walking distance of The Shangri La. This property would suit guests who are looking for high standards of comfort and service as well as public room space and wide selection of amenities. The Shangri La was all of this and more – service levels were second to none – staff always smiling without being over intrusive. This was despite our party staying at the hotel during a busy few days when an important wedding reception was taking place – the king even paid us a visit, who was a guest of honour at the reception. The vast two level lobby area managed to appear peaceful despite being busy and had a wonderful huge calming water feature at its centre – live easy listening music was played at allotted times which further added to the atmosphere. The spacious rooms as you would expect were of a high standard and the design and layout well thought out. Like many hotel groups Shangri La offer their Horizon Club to guests accommodation in more expensive upper room categories who are looking for more privacy and exclusivity as well as a host of extras including a butler service, a private lounge on an upper floor and a separate check in area. You enjoy a more intimate breakfast service in this lounge and complimentary generous portions of canapés and drinks for a couple of hours in an evening. This suits both business travellers and leisure travellers wanting peace and quiet but some socialising at other times if required in intimate surroundings. Many other extras are included. The hotel boasts high grade restaurants and Arthur’s Bar was popular for high quality plain food and drinks. The outside pool and terraces were more than adequate and the hotel snacks and burgers from the café were delicious. There was also a number of families staying at the hotel during our visit.
The Traders Hotel
Traders is really the more basic option offered to travellers by the Shangri La Group who are looking for value and not so bothered about various other facilities. The KL property had just been refurbished and was looking very smart indeed. The check in area was on an upper floor and was a more casual affair, and of course I mentioned the marvellous views offered from its elevated SKY BAR in the previous blog. This bar acts as the pool and spa during the day so this hotel would not be suitable for guests requiring an outdoor pool with sunbathing areas. The basic deluxe rooms looked very nice with clean minimalistic lines which seem to be the in thing at the moment. The larger more luxurious club executive twin tower rooms and suites as the titles imply offer great views of the twin towers. Traders also have a club lounge (with club rooms and host of extras similar to the Horizon Club with Shangri La. A good choice for clients looking for a trendy hotel at a good price and less concerned about an outdoor pool.
The Parkroyal Hotel
Although it was a quick visit I liked the look of the Parkroyal – although now quite an old hotel the standard of fittings were good and the general décor although slightly dated (sort of art deco style) was fresh and clean. We saw the lead in room which was more than adequate (shower only with washbasin in room) and you will see from the hotel’s website all the rooms have all the modern facilities you expect these days. They have an outdoor pool/spa but I don’t recall seeing this.
This hotel is normally keenly priced and is in a super central potion for most things including shopping and entertainment at the Bintang Walk area and with a monorail station close by you have easy access to other areas if you wish to avoid walking. A good 4 star choice.
The Renaissance Hotel
Part of the Marriott group. I am afraid this hotel left me less impressed – consisting really of two hotels an East and West Wing (Towers). The East Wing rooms looked as if they needed updated but there was an ongoing renovation programme going on. One of the plus points was the extra-large outdoor swimming pool and sunbathing area and while the property was not as central as others it was close to the twin towers and a monorail station.
Unfortunately despite there being several restaurants in the hotel we were given dinner in their buffet restaurant which was located in the basement and the food was only mediocre and mainly cold. If considering this hotel you would really need to look at the rates but I suspect any of the others depending on budget would offer better value. However anyone reading this blog who knows otherwise please let me know.
KL offers the visitor a wide range of dining options; local food is available everywhere. Malay, Chinese and Indian at humble street stalls. All types of cuisine in shopping Food Malls, pubs and also fine dining restaurants. International cuisine is also varied including Middle Eastern, Italian and Japanese. Many of the hotels have speciality restaurants. Unfortunately we did not have time or opportunity to really sample many of these delights but for fine dining restaurants the Bukit Bintang is one of the areas to head for. The Chinese Market in an evening offers many types of dining experiences. As mentioned previously Hawker Centre and Street Food tours are becoming very popular giving the opportunity to try different foods from several countries in one evening. There were also quite a number of restaurants and pubs serving food in and around the KLCC area.
On our trip we were taken to a Malaysian Dinner and Culture Show at the Saloma Theatre restaurant. As I suspected it turned out to be very touristy, the food was quite poor, the show dancing was OK; the most entertaining bit was the audience participation!
Otherwise there is plenty of nightlife available, many just visit KL for the food, nightlife and shopping. KL has it all: discos, karaoke bars, multiplex cinemas, more sophisticated nightclubs and for the more cultured the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra concert at the KLCC. Those in the know head to the exciting nightspots along Jalan P Ramlee and Bukit Bitang. You also have the Hard Rock Café across the road from the Shangri La Hotel, on Jalan Sultan Ismail.
KL is a very popular shopping destination with overseas visitors because of its keen prices. On Bintang Walk and Jalan Bukit Bintang you find all these shopping malls: Starhill Gallery, Fahrenheit 88, Lot 10, Sungei Wang Plaza, Plaza Low Yat and of course the huge Pavilion on Bintang Walk which I believe is the latest extravagant Emporium of retail therapy. You have other areas that I have previously mentioned like the Chinese Market, the Craft Cultural Complex at Karyaneka and the Central Market more for souvenirs and crafts. You can easily go online and see which specialises in what. Serious shoppers travelling economy class might wish to consider travelling Emirates who offer 30K checked baggage allowance as well as generous carry on allowance!
At first I thought Kuala Lumpur might not have a lot to offer but when you do your research there is a lot to do, see and experience. Our time was limited before travelling onto the Atlantis in Dubai. Kl is ideal for a ‘price competitive’ stopover en route down under or combining with beaches at Dubai, Penang, Phuket, Borneo, Bali or a fly drive holiday to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia – contact me for further details.
See other blog on Kuala Lumpur
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: Petronas Twin Towers (SG) 122