While Malaysia is intent on promoting its ecotourism, beach resorts, vibrant culture and world-class golf courses, one thing is also clear: Most visitors, especially business travelers, are going to spend at least a couple of nights in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
An aerial nighttime view of Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a city of close to 7 million people that continues to grow at a rapid clip. Most visitors will gravitate toward either the City Centre neighborhood or the Golden Triangle area, which is northeast of the center of the city. Here they’ll find most of the five-star hotels, great restaurants and nightlife—and the city’s iconic 88-story Petronas Twin Towers. First-time visitors should definitely pencil in time to take in the view from the observation deck.
Kuala Lumpur is quickly growing into a cosmopolitan city
Shopping is one of the city’s main draws, and dedicated shoppers can head for the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle. This past year saw the opening of the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which is often referred to as Malaysia’s version of New York’s Fifth Avenue. The Pavilion is a seven-story shopping center featuring some of the world’s most famous high-end brands, including Hermès, Montblanc, Coach, Omega and Versace.
On the Horizon
The Hilton Kuala Lumpur has announced Level Seven, offering new possibilities for meetings and convention space, set to debut in September. Level Seven will offer meeting attendees some of the comforts of home, including a living room and kitchen concept that allows guests to kick back during meeting breaks. The space is being described as open and chic, with Malay elements such as the wayang kulit (shadow puppets) incorporated into the design to celebrate Malaysia’s artistic heritage.
Also on the horizon is The Regent Kuala Lumpur, a 250-room hotel with 102 luxury apartments in Kuala Lumpur’s City Centre. This new hotel from Regent Hotels & Resorts is scheduled for a fall 2011 opening, and will offer city views and easy access to cultural sites and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is set in the City Centre. The hotel reflects a European design with Malaysian influence. The hotel’s Premier Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the city. Room 2971 is the only room in the Premier Room category with a small balcony overlooking Lake Gardens. The hotel’s two Terrace Suites have balconies that overlook either the Lake Gardens or Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
A view from a room at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
At $1,850 per night, the Penthouse Suite is the most expensive accommodation in the hotel. In addition to a spacious master bedroom, the Penthouse Suite has a dining table that seats 10, a kitchenette, complimentary breakfast, butler service, evening cocktails and free Internet access
The Le Royal Club Suites can connect with a Deluxe Room to provide even more space if necessary. The hotel has 40 connecting rooms. The Le Royal Club Lounge on the 33rd floor provides all-day coffee and tea service, free broadband Internet and evening cocktails.
The hotel’s spa has six treatment rooms; two of these are for couples. We hear that the aromatherapy massage gets high marks from guests. Agents can book treatments for clients ahead of time by contacting the spa manager, Roberta Koh (011-603-2260-1688, [email protected]).
Al Nafourah is the hotel’s specialty restaurant. It’s something of a destination within a destination, emulating a Middle Eastern oasis with Moorish arches, plush decor and belly dancers. Opulent silk dinner tents offer privacy. A nice touch is the terrace overlooking the Lake Gardens. Agents can make advance reservations for their clients at www.lemeridien.com/kualalumpurdining.
Because Kuala Lumpur can get steamy, guests will enjoy cooling off in the hotel’s free-form swimming pool. At 394 feet, it’s billed as the longest pool in Kuala Lumpur. The lagoon-inspired design features palm trees, rock formations and a water slide.
The Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur is the closest hotel to the Petronas Twin Towers. The hotel has 643 guest rooms, including 41 suites and 51 serviced apartments. The exclusive Mandarin Oriental Club has seven private floors, comprising 148 guest rooms, 10 Club Park Suites and one Presidential Suite. Each of these rooms looks out on either the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, or the capital’s stirring skyline.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur opened this past summer. The spa has four treatment rooms, a dedicated manicure and pedicure room, heat and aqua facilities and a consultation room. Treatments combine Chinese, European, Thai and Malaysian therapies. Mandarin Oriental’s signature treatment is the “Time Ritual,” which encourages guests to book time rather than specific treatments. Services can then be tailored to create an individualized holistic journey. To make reservations in advance, e-mail [email protected].
Guests can opt for Cantonese cuisine at Lai Po Heen, or contemporary European cuisine with an Asian influence at Pacifica Grill and Bar. The Grand Ballroom in Kuala Lumpur can accommodate up to 1,800 guests for a sit-down dinner.
Denise Condon, the hotel’s director of travel industry account sales, USA and Canada, can answer agents’ questions. With an office in San Francisco, Condon is easy to reach ([email protected], 415-772-8831).
A Deluxe Room at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
The 701-room Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur is in the city’s Golden Triangle. Of its guest rooms and suites, the Horizon Club rooms are the most requested. These consist of Horizon Executive, Horizon Premier and Horizon Twin Towers rooms. The Horizon Club offers many perks, including access to the Horizon Club Lounge, located on the 27th floor; complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails; and suit pressing upon arrival. For clients seeking a great view, book them into The Horizon Twin Towers rooms. These provide views of Kuala Lumpur’s landmark Petronas Twin Towers.
The hotel’s spa has five treatment rooms. Spa inquiries can be directed to the fitness center manager, Rajoo Ananthan (011-603-2032-2388, ext. 1283, [email protected]).
Guests will have a range of choices when it comes to dining. The hotel has several restaurants, including Restaurant Lafite (Western), Zipangu (Japanese) and Shang Palace (Chinese). The Lobby Lounge is famous for its “Czar” cocktail, containing Absolut vodka shaken with crushed ice and fresh strawberries and garnished with a sugar cane stick. Agents can make advance restaurant reservations by contacting the hotel’s Restaurant Reservations Centre at (011-603-2074-3900, [email protected].)
The general manager is Jarlath Lynch (011-603-2032-2388, ext. 1141, [email protected]). Agents with VIP requests can reach out to him.
The travel agent liaison for the hotel is Mukhriz Maarof, sales manager in charge of travel trade (011-603-2074-3926, [email protected]).
For more information on Malaysia, check out our Malaysia Travel Resources page.
“I took my first trip to Malaysia last February, as part of a fam organized by the Malaysia Tourist Board,” says Paula Mullins Worster, president of Carlsbad, CA-based First Tee Promotion LCC Golf & Travel. “I was so impressed. The infrastructure is exceptional, there’s world-class golf and the U.S. dollar goes a long way.”
Worster’s agency specializes in golf, wine and wellness. She’s been selling Asia for years and has traveled to Thailand more than 15 times. Worster had some initial reservations about traveling to a Muslim country. “I asked questions at length about etiquette and culture,” she remembers. “Once I was there, I found the Malaysians to be as friendly as Kiwis and Thais. In Kuala Lumpur, you’ll see everything from a Burkha to a miniskirt.” Worster also has high praise for Malaysian cuisine. “The food is outrageous—very organic.”