Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Tune Hotel

I have posted on some of the top end hotels in Kuala Lumpur. Now I am moving to the other spectrum of accommodation in the city - a cheap yet nice hotel.

Tune Hotel has hit on a great business model - an affordable hotel with clean modern design, nice bed and great shower, a cheap place where you would not be ashamed to be seen in. If you are looking for a place just to spend a night, this is it. The usual price is around RM 90.00 per room including towels and air-conditioning. Yes, you have to pay for air-conditioning, or you can choose to save money by just using the ceiling fan. You also have to pay to use their towels, or you can bring your own. The whole thing works on an internet booking system -  the earlier you book, the cheaper the rate.

The rooms are really tiny - just enough for the bed, a wall mounted retractable table and that's it. The bed is really nice, with high quality bedsheets. The real stand out is the shower - great quality with good water pressure and instant hot water. It is better then even some of the more expensive hotels. There is no wardrobe, you have to hand your shirts on wall-mounted hooks. 

There is a Seven-Eleven in the lobby, where you can stock up on essentials - a convenience that even 5 star hotels don't have. There is also a Subway Sandwich Bar, and a Kopitiam-type coffeehouse. There is even an ATM machine where you can load up on cash. They really have thought of everything !

The people behind Tune Hotel are from AirAsia. So far they have proven highly capable of coming up with a great idea and run with it. I can''t wait to see more Tune Hotels coming up in places I want to visit.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Palace of the Golden Horses

Palace of the Golden Horses is located at the Mines Resort which is quite a distance from the city centre. You actually will pass it on the way down from the airport. It's one of those "destination hotels" where the hotel is supposed to be the be all and end all of your trip. You either love it or hate it.

"Destination hotels" are usually not my cup of tea. They are very Disneyesque - quite artificial and out of this world. Like Sun City in South Africa or Atlantis The Palm Dubai, a whole back story is created to provide the mythology for the design. Palace of the Golden Horses is not as over the top as the other resorts, and it benefits from that restraint. The design is centred around horses, with the horseshoe and other equine paraphernalia featuring heavily in the designs. 

It is a huge hotel, with over 480 rooms and lots of conference facilities. There are also many f&b outlets to cater to the large number of guests. Part of the Mines development which includes a convention centre, shopping mall, turf club and premium residential properties -  the hotel shares a lake and golf course with the Mines Resort about a couple of kilometres away. The hotels are connected by a water taxi service via the lake.

The lobby is large and impressive, with a Moorish design. Though it is quite obvious that most of the details are not hand-crafted, but are cast from moulds. Tricks which are no doubt appropriated from the building of Disneyland and other theme parks.

The huge lobby lounge with nice views to the lake.

The room layout is standard, but quite spacious. 

The Palace of the Golden Horses is a hotel which you need to experience once, just to see what its like. Due to its location, its not the most convenient hotel in KL. Stay there if you need to be near the Mines Resort, or if you just want a different experience which only a hotel like this can offer. Its like living in a fantasy world - a fairy tale palace where you can be king for a day, for a price of course.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Traders Hotel

Traders Hotel is a relatively new 5 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Part of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) complex, it is the natural place to stay if you are attending a convention or function at the KLCC. It is also near the Suria Shopping Centre at the Petronas Twin Towers, and right next to the KLCC Park.

The design of the hotel is in the modern clean-line vein. The check-in lobby is located at a higher level. However, there is a concierge counter on the ground floor lobby. 

The ground floor lobby.

The reception lobby on an upper floor.

The hotel is positioned more as a business hotel. As such the facilities are more business oriented. There are several F&B outlets, the standout is Gobo Upstairs - a Western bar and grill which I have posted on before. 

The room layout is again quite standard, and not as stylish as Hilton or Westin. The bathroom in fact feels quite cramped and could have been bigger. 

The swimming pool at the roof level. At night this transforms in the Skybar - a popular nightspot for the hip and trendy.

The coffeehouse at lobby level. Pity there are no views into the KLCC Park.

In terms of service, Traders is not on par with the Westin or Le Meridien. In fact the staff tend to be a bit cold and business-like. Perhaps this is due to their business orientation.

This is a great place to stay if you need to be near the KLCC. However in terms of service and design there are other better hotels around.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - The Westin

The Westin is another 5-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur which is a part of the Starwood stable. Located in Bukit Bintang - the Golden Triangle of KL, it is also one of the most conveniently located hotels for shopping. It is right beside the Starhill Gallery Shopping Centre, opposite the Pavilion Shopping Centre and within a short walk to Lot 10, Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang Plaza - the epicentre of shopping in KL.

More modern then the Sheraton Imperial - The Westin is a stylish hotel, probably just behind Hilton KL in terms of design cool factor. The lobby is quite small, but it has a nice touch of having an all day counter serving refreshing elixirs - actually cold water infused with orange/cinnamon or other fruits and spices. Other facilities are spread over split-levels, with a lobby bar on a lower level and the coffeehouse on the upper level. The overall design is cool, clean and elegant.

The Westin also boasts many F&B outlets which are some of the best in town - the Prego Italian Restaurant, Eest Pan-Asian Restaurant, and Qba Latin American Bar & Grill. Eest is easily one of the most stylish restaurants in KL - worth a special visit just to see the  modern and innovative design. 

The entrance on Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Upper levels of the lobby where the coffeehouse and facilities are located.

The room layout is quite standard, and the design again clean-line and modern. The bed is billed as Westin's famous "Heavenly Bed" which is even offered on sale if you would like to have one of your own. To me it is a little bit too soft - as I prefer a firmer bed.

The view from the room.

The staff at the Westin are very warm and friendly. Checking in is a very pleasant experience. If you have stayed there once, they will remember all your preferences and previous requests. Should be standard for a 5-star hotel - I know, but it is amazing how many hotels get it wrong. 

Yo can't beat the Westin in terms of location. On top of that, it is a very stylish and comfortable hotel with lots of great dining options. Can't ask for more !

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - The Sheraton Imperial

The Sheraton Imperial is part of the Starwood chain of hotels. There are 3 Starwood hotels in Kuala Lumpur - Le Meridien, Westin and Sheraton Imperial. Sheraton is the oldest of the 3, and the design is more old school and classical. 

Located along Jalan Sultan Ismail, the hotel is a bit of a distance from the popular Bukit Bintang area. However there is a monorail station just outside the hotel and provides convenient connection to most parts of KL.

Next to the hotel is the Asian Heritage Roll which is an entertainment precinct full of restaurants, cafes and clubs. The Bar SaVanh and CoChine Restaurant - part of the Singaporean Indochine restaurant chain, is just around the corner.

Inside the hotel there are several dining outlets - the Essence coffee house, Celestial Court Chinese Restaurant, and Villa Danieli - a popular Italian restaurant set in a rustic Tuscany villa setting. The Essence coffee house serves a nice buffet dinner daily. 

The room is a bit old fashion, but quite large and luxurious. 

The view from the room.

Despite the age, the lobby areas still have a class and elegance befitting a hotel of this standard. It would make a perfect setting for wedding photos.

The Sheraton Imperial is still one of the nicest hotels in KL and would appeal to those looking for a bit of old world charm and elegance. If you prefer more modern digs, then you should look elsewhere.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Hilton at KL Sentral

The other hotel at KL Sentral is the Hilton. I must say this is the most stylish hotel in Kuala Lumpur at the moment. The lobby is really nice, and packed with F&B options such as a lobby cafe, lobby lounge, and wine and cigar bar.

There are also many other F&B outlets which gives you endless options. There is the Sudu coffee house, the Noodle Room which serves all kinds of Asian noodles, the Chynna Restaurant, Senses by Chiong Liew - a fine dining restaurant, Iketeru Japanese restaurant - one of the finest in town, and the famous Zeta Bar - a trendy and popular nightspot. Each of these outlets have a different theme and design which is carried through to the last detail, and they all wrap around a circular atrium with a dramatic winding staircase connecting to the different floors. If you don't like the exercise, you can take the elevator to the top floor and walk down.

The room is the best part of the hotel. The design is modern, sleek and spacious. The bathroom is completely open, with a separate bath tub and spacious shower. The water closet is in a separate hidden compartment. A luxurious and stylish vanity counter provide the nice finishing touch to the whole setup. 

The pooldeck is shared with Le Meridien next door. It is quite spacious and a nice place to relax.

The cafe in the stylish lobby.