Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Room 1151, August 14-19, 2016
Room 2551, August 21-26, 2016
After a long weary flight from New York (and a layover in Guangzhou), I finally made it to the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.
The hotel is located across the street from the KL Sentral station – those landing in KUL can take the KLIA Express train from the airport to the station to beat traffic around the city. The building itself is located right next to a Hilton, and the two are connected and share a swimming pool, gym, and parking facilities.
The lobby was a bit of a challenge for my uber driver to find – cars must go through security, enter the parking lot, and drive up to the second floor to access the Le Meridien lobby. (The Hilton, however, has a lobby on the ground floor, which is accessible to Le Meridien guests as well).
The lobby was bright and modern, filled with plenty of space to sit and lounge in. The Front Desk Associate that checked me in was warm and friendly, and let me know about all my benefits at the hotel as an SPG Platinum, including access to the lounge. Something unique to this property is that not only do plats have access to the lounge, but also have the option to dine at the hotel restaurant, which serves a breakfast buffet every morning. Both are available to plats without selecting the breakfast amenity. She asked if I was willing to wait for my room, as it was not ready, or if I was alright with a “building-facing” room”. I opted for what was available at the time, since I was exhausted after the long trip.
My room was located on the 11th floor of the building, on the left side of the elevator at the end of the hallway.
The room was small, but appeared to be recently renovated and looked comfortable, practical, and modern.
The room was a comfortable fit for one person, but would have been tight for even two people – especially people who aren’t used to living in small quarters. I didn’t mind the size at all.
The room was furnished with a flat screen TV, a desk, and a space for luggage – which I much prefer over luggage racks.
The room had lots of thoughtful nooks and made good use of the small space. I appreciated all the power and USB outlets all over the room – from a strip on the back side of the desk.
To the outlets located on each side of the bed.
The bed also had reading lights that tucked into the bed.
The bathroom was equally modern, with lots of thoughtful touches everywhere. The blackout shade was controlled at the touch of a button and the toilet had an electronic bidet function (not quite the same level as that at the W Taipei though)
In addition to a tub, the bathroom also had a rainforest shower, with a handheld shower head and body jets. After 20+ hours in the air, the shower was much appreciated (and felt amazing!).
The sink space had a good amount of counter space, and the bathroom came with plenty of basic amenities like toothbrushes, an emery board, a sewing kit, and razor.
Overall, I was happy with the room. On top of this, the bed was incredibly comfortable. The “building view” the front desk associate had mentioned wasn’t as obstructed as she made it sound – I still had a great view of the city (though none of Petronas Towers unfortunately).
As part of my usual first night ritual, I ordered room service. I was pleased to find hainanese chicken on the menu, and ordered the crab kerabu to start. The meal came up within 30 minutes (as promised). While i didn’t love the crab dish, I thought the chicken was perfectly cooked. This won’t be as authentic as anything you’ll find in a hawker centre, but was mostly white meat,which I prefer.
The lounge had been recently renovated within the last year and looked stunning. The lounge is located on the 33rd floor of the building and had fantastic views of the city.
Platinum members (and plus one guest staying in the same room) have free access to the lounge, and can bring additional guests at a rate of approximately 70 MYR for breakfast and 125 MYR for cocktails. A little steep in my opinion, but I thought the lounge was fantastic.
The service at the Club Lounge was excellent as well. As soon as I sat down with a plate, an attendant came by to ask if he could prepare a hot beverage for me. Service was attentive and someone came by often to check in and see if there was anything else I needed.
The cocktail hour offers a generous alcoholic spread – hard liquor, white wine, and red wine. The food options changed as well from day to day.
Breakfast at the Latest Recipe
As I mentioned earlier, plats are offered the option to dine at the in-house restaurant, Latest Recipe. I went down one morning for breakfast to see what it was like.
The breakfast buffet offered far more options than the lounge – more fruit options, more cereal, more pastries, more meat options, more cheese, a soft serve ice cream machine, and a candy bar! All were fantastic, but the restaurant was also much more hectic than the lounge, which was quiet and calm. While I enjoyed the options available at the restaurant, I preferred the lounge setting. While service was quick, it was much harder to flag anyone down if I needed something in the middle of the meal since it was just so much busier. Even so, it’s a great option if you want more variety. I tend to keep it simple, so the spread at the lounge was perfectly fine for me.
The hotel has a business center on the first floor near the elevators. The space doesn’t offer much privacy if you need to make a phone call, but is useful if you need to print something or access the internet. A conference room is available for reservation, but with a fee and must be booked in advance.
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur business lounge
The hotel also offers an on-site pool (shared with the Hilton). The gym is also a shared facility and is located at the Hilton, so is a bit of a walk from the hotel.
A spa is also available on-site, but is pricey, given the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur. A massage could run you the equivalent of about $100 USD, which even in New York City is a bit much.
As I mentioned earlier, the property is located across the street from KL Sentral. (Something to note for those traveling on KLIA Express to KUL, Malaysia Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Etihad offer check in counters at the station). The hotel is near the Perdana Botanical Gardens (home to the KL Bird Park and located right by the National Mosque), but is “dangerous” (according to the concierge) to get to from the hotel as a highway runs between the property and the park. I’ll admit I didn’t bother giving this a try and hopped in an uber instead.
Ubers in KL are very cheap, but the one issue I frequently had been that since the hotel’s lobby is on the second floor, most ubers didn’t know they had to drive up the ramp to get to the lobby. This lead to extremely long wait times occasionally – I recommend sending your uber a text message to let him know you are at the lobby of the Le Meridien hotel, and to follow the signs to get there.
The property itself is located in an area that reminded me of the financial district – lots of offices nearby, and I spotted two SPG properties within the same area (a St. Regis and an Aloft).
For those looking to visit the Petronas Towers, the hotel is about a 15-20 minute drive (possibly more depending on infamous KL traffic), but is nearby highways that leave the city (which was convenient for me when it came to getting to the office).
Make a Green Choice Option: No (discontinued)
Check In: 10/10 – Cheerful front desk associate who offered plenty of information about the property and perks associated with my status
Elite Recognition: 10/10 – Upgraded to a better room than booked – compared to other rooms, the bedroom area was a bit smaller, but the bathroom was larger and had both a shower and tub. Was given access to the lounge which offered SPG platinums perks. Great to be able to select points and get breakfast with my stay.
Room: 9/10 – Small, but comfortable, with lots of thought put into design and functionality despite the size.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 10/10 – Thoughtful placement of plugs for devices (international plugs and usb outlets), large television, free WiFi in guest rooms for direct bookings, and free WiFi in common areas. Electronically controlled blackout panels in the bathroom, plus a bidet function on the toilet at the press of a button.
Staff: 10/10 – Very helpful, provided information and service as needed.
Location: 8/10 – Great location for those avoiding being in the middle of KL, with easy access to the train station. As far as sightseeing goes, this area isn’t particularly walkable to some of the key areas you might want to visit, with the exception of the KL Perdana Botanical Gardens, which, according to the concierge, was “dangerous” to walk to.
On-Site Dining: 8/10 – Great food (loved the hainanese chicken!), excellent service. Food tends to run the same day after day, but considering the price, it’s not a bad deal.
On-Site Amenities: 8/10 – Lounge and spa on-site, with a shared outdoor pool, gym and salon that are shared with the Hilton next door. According to the literature in the room, the salon is “independently run” so it sounds like expenses can not be charged to your room.
Hospitality Services: 9/10 – Concierge was helpful, quick to respond, and provided me with a lot of information when I requested it. Was able to procure me a reservation at a restaurant at a time slot that was not available on their website.
Hotel Appearance: 10/10 – Looks newly renovated, modern, with great sun exposure.
Overall Rating: 92/100 (92%) ★★★★★
I had a fantastic stay during my visit. The Le Meridien properties consistently offer a comfortable, modern experience. While the hotels are no St. Regis in their level of service, this property exceeded my expectations of a Le Meriden. Most do not have a lounge on-site, so I definitely enjoyed being able to break away from the hustle and bustle and having a place to do some work over a glass of wine. Fantastic property, and would easily visit again.
Do note that this was a 2 week trip. On my second check-in, I was assigned a room in the same line (that is, both room 51 on their respective floors) of rooms as my first. The second room’s decor was a different color, but overall similar due to having the same layout. One notable difference – new room’s bathroom did not have body jets in the shower! Due to the similarities, I thought it would be redundant to post multiple reviews.