Friday, September 14, 2012

Kuala Lumpur: Luxury at the Shangri La Hotel

Shangri La Lobby with ridiculously large floral arrangement
This past weekend was our fifth trip to Malaysia, which is a lot less impressive than it sounds (given that it's like a 30 minute drive from much of Singapore). This time it was Kuala Lumpur, the capital, because 1. we hadn't been there before and 2. the flight is less than an hour. I wasn't really expecting much (have you ever heard of Kuala Lumpur? hardly a tourist must-see).
Live piano music to add to the mood
B and I both really liked it. It's easy to navigate--most people speak English (thanks British people for colonizing so many countries!)--and while well-developed (good roads, electricity, transit, etc) is still cheap. The food is great, the museums are good, and there's a lot to see. I also liked the vibe of the city: lots of people sitting at cheap outdoor restaurants sipping beer late into the night and a friendly, laid-back population. It's like Singapore without the money, competiveness and general level of stress.
Lobby area: the chairs are velvet and super comfortable
We stayed at the Shangri La Hotel, which I would highly recommend if you have the budget. It was the most luxurious place I've ever stayed. Everything worked perfectly, the staff was amazing, and the facilities were really top notch. The hotel gym (which I didn't get a picture of) was nicer than any of the gyms I've had a membership to: huge (about as big as our whole apartment), spotlessly clean and full of top-notch, modern equipment.
Living room of our suite

This is a bad photo, but look how big the living room is!  B is sitting at the leather-topped desk
Bedroom with king-size bed: so comfortable!
One of the three TVs; the suite had a DVD player and printer too
Bathroom, also with TV, enormous shower (right) and tub (left). Bath salts and L'Occitane products were included.

View from our room: Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is to the left; we were on the 28th floor
We were in a special guest category called Horizon Club, which basically means you get access to a private lounge serving free breakfast, afternoon snacks, and drinks (including a full bar, cocktail hour and so on). The food on offer was truly amazing. Not only was it all delicious, but it changed constantly (like every 15 minutes they brought out new dainties of immaculately presented smoked salmon sandwiches and tiny creme brulees, never the same thing twice). Luckily R was well-behaved enough for us to enjoy the mealtimes, though sadly I couldn't take full advantage of the alcohol.
Afternoon snack: fruit, kueh (Malaysian pastries), chocolate mousse...
The four varieties of Bon Maman jam at breakfast were a nice touch
Part of my breakfast: bacon, sausage, fruit, baked beans, walnuts (there was a cheese platter too of course)
R's breakfast: papaya, yogurt, danish, rye crisp, baked beans,  berries, eggs...they had everything
She did get us a free upgrade (to a suite): thanks baby! (Traveling with a kid in Southeast Asia is great because locals love children so much.) It was huge, bigger than most of the apartments I've lived in. There was even a walk-in closet, which was awesome because we could stick R in there for naptimes/bedtime, and then pretend like we were childless. Plus the hotel offers babysitting (very reasonably priced at around $5/hour) so we were able to go out late both nights we stayed there.
R at the hotel's koi pond (she was obsessed with the fish); they have a hedge maze too but I didn't take a photo
Kuala Lumpur has a large number of luxury hotels, so if you are interested in luxury on a budget it's a great destination (competitive markets are awesome). I highly recommend it!


  1. So is staying in a hotel like this actually affordable? Would you mind actually telling me how much it costs (on average)? My husband and I often pay over $125/night just to stay in a chain hotel because we know it will be clean and well maintained. Plus, there aren't many "luxury" hotels where we go. lol.

    Also, if you're avoiding alcohol because you're nursing, I was reading an article in Parents magazine and it said that the alcohol exits breastmilk at the same rate that it exits the body, and that if you drink a glass of wine you usually just need to wait a few hours before nursing. I don't drink, so I can't verify this for you, but it might be worth looking into. :)

    1. It was about $190/night. If we didn't stay in the Horizon club, then it would have been cheaper (around the chain hotel price you mention).

      I don't avoid alcohol all together (because like you say having a little is fine). By full advantage I mean I couldn't guzzle down champagne by the bottle like I wanted to! Stupid being moderate.

  2. This hotel is just amazing and the interiors are fabulous ;love the way it has been designed...