I was in Kuala Lumpur on business for a week and thought it would be worth trying a new hotel. I had stayed at the Mandarin Oriental before and, while I liked it’s location (right next to the Petronas Towers), I felt that it was a little dated and in need of a refresh. Not to mention that it’s very large and somewhat impersonal.
I joined the Leading Hotels of the World Leaders Club program earlier this year (at a friend’s suggestion) and was interested to see what they offered, especially as the program includes a free room category upgrade at time of booking. There’s only one KL hotel in the LHW list, The Majestic. I liked the look of the room and decided to give it a go. The rate was reasonable and it was a suite for the same price as a deluxe room.
When I first at the airport, I wasn’t met by a car (like I had been when I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental) but was greeted nonetheless by a gentleman who had purchased a KLIA Express train ticket for me. A colleague of his escorted me to the correct train, so I wouldn’t be lost, and informed me that I’d be met in KL by a driver. This is, indeed, what happened. Given that the train ride was only twenty minutes, this did seem a sensible way to make the journey (my first drive had taken 45 minutes). However, this was only satisfactory, because I was travelling alone. Had I been with my family, this would not have been an ideal scenario. Imagine a travelling circus going up and down escalators with toddlers and luggage. In that case, I would have preferred to have been met by a car at the airport.
My driver was very courteous, but he dropped me off at the wrong entrance to the hotel. This was put right when I tried to check-in. At first, I thought I’d come to the wrong hotel, because it was huge and nothing like the photograph. It turns out that I was meant to go to the old wing of the hotel (the “Majestic Wing”). Instead, I had been shown into the cavernous lobby of the new hotel wing, which is a high-rise.
At first, the sound of going to the ‘old wing’ wasn’t appealing. But, it’s anything but. The older part of the hotel is much more magical. It has been beautifully restored in a colonial style that was very tasteful. Normally, I prefer more modern fixtures and fittings, but they had done a superb job. I passed the tea room and dining area, where a Jazz singer was crooning smoothly to a backing band. In places, the hotel has a slight Deco feeling to it. The doormen at the old wing wore pith helmets and reminded me of the Raffles hotel in Singapore. It transports you back in time.
The staff where very eager to please. I was introduced to my butler, who acted as a personal concierge, inviting me to request anything of them. The room was newly decorated and nicely turned out. I found the work area in the sitting room to be comfortable and spacious. There are plenty of surfaces scattered around to accommodate a flexible schedule. The vanity in the bathroom might be a tad small for two to share, but the bathroom itself is large.
There is a Spa next door that is ostensibly part of the hotel, but run by different management. They have their own pool, which is smaller than the main pool, but more convenient to get to. You need to get permission in advance, however, as it’s reserved only for spa guests. My LHW booking came with a voucher for a fee treatment. This challenged the Spa staff, as they had never seen one before. After ten minutes of telephone calls to various managers, they agreed to take me into their care.
The main hotel gym and pool are both located in the other building, so you have to parade yourself in a towel past people having tea or dinner, while a band is playing in the evening band, which is not ideal. The gym is open 24 hours, which is wonderful. The equipment is very new, but spartan. I would have loved to see a rowing machine and a few more weight machines (although they have plenty of free weights). The pool is a good size, but I have yet to come across a dressing room, although you could use the bathroom to change in.
I have very few, minor complaints. For instance, the Internet is incredibly slow, even if you pay for the 2Mbps service (which is nowhere near), but the staff did their best to help work something out and comp’d the fees. I think a lot of the staff was new. There was only one person who was truly capable, so I sought out her help as much as possible. That said, the others really wanted to do their best, so I was forgiving.
The location of the hotel is decent, but you will want to go everywhere by car. There’s very little to explore nearby on foot. This is very different from staying at Petronas Towers, which has an enormous shopping complex on its doorstep. However, the Majestic offers a point-to-point, complimentary car with driver service, so this wasn’t a problem.
I have heard a few horror stories about the tea room, although I didn’t use it myself. These centred around staff behaviour. In one example, a group of six were asked to give their credit card over even before they had ordered, which they found rude. Another group came when the place was empty and was told there were no more tables. This is unfortunate to hear, as it is a lovely space. It sounds as if there are some rough edges with staffing that need to be smoothed out.
I would happily stay here again. The staff I dealt with were extremely helpful and kind. The room rate (under LHW) was very competitive and came with some good perks. The car service was helpful. Perhaps, the location was slightly apart from the hub of KL prime, but quieter as a result.