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We love Kuala Lumpur. As one of the biggest travel hubs in South East Asia, it is an easy city to explore, whether you’re just stopping over on the way to another destination in Asia or using it as the gateway to Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur has so much to offer that we keep finding ourselves drawn back to explore more of its chaotic streets and city views. On both of our visits to Kuala Lumpur (in 2011 on the way to Vietnam and recently in October 2016 on the way to Thailand) we stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur Hotel.
Location, Location, Location
There are many luxury five star hotels in Kuala Lumpur to choose from, but on our first visit to Kuala Lumpur, I wanted to be as close to the Petronas Towers as possible. Like many first time visitors to Kuala Lumpur or those who are simply stopping over, the Petronas Towers were a must see! As you can see we couldn’t have gotten any closer!
The Mandarin Oriental’s location, right next to the KLCC shopping center and the Petronas Towers is one of its many selling points. On our first visit, it was super convenient to check in and head straight out to explore the city. With limited time in Kuala Lumpur, this was a huge advantage. We had a more leisurely pace on our second visit, but we still preferred its central location. With the KLCC metro stop being so close by as well, it makes it easy to further explore other areas of the city without the use of timely taxis (traffic is pretty bad in KL).
It is especially useful if you plan on using public transport to travel to the airport since the KLCC metro stop connects directly to the KL Sentral station where you can then take the KLIA Express straight to the airport.
The Mandarin Oriental is a large hotel, with over 632 guest rooms including 21 elegant suites and 40 serviced (private) apartments, all with spectacular views of the parklands or impressive cityscape including close up views of the Petronas Towers from selected rooms types.
There is lots to boast about at the Mandarin; friendly staff, a great cafe/cake shop with delicious macaroons (if I do say so myself some of the best I’ve ever had!), a serene and peaceful infinity pool area with views over the soaring skyscrapers. These were the only two hotel facilities we took advantage of during our stay since we were more interested in what the city had to offer than our hotel.
There are numerous places to eat too (although we only tried the Cafe), including the Mandarin Grill, Lai Po Heen Cantonese Restaurant, Mosaic International Restaurant, the Wasabi Bistro and a great Aqua Bar to fulfill your snack cravings while relaxing pool-side. There is also a bar and lounge open all day for a cocktail before dinner or a nightcap before bed.
There is also a spa and wellness center with a gym however on first look it didn’t look overly impressive and in any case, we were saving our massage funds for Thailand!
Room – Twin Towers View Room
For both of our stays, we opted for the Twin Towers View Rooms and both times we had fantastic up-close views of the Petronas Towers. Our room (on the most recent stay) was large in size (compared to other hotels in Kuala Lumpur) although we do feel the rooms need refreshing and bringing up to date. While our room was exceptionally clean, the furniture is very dark and dated.
The bathroom was also a reasonable size and was fully stocked with Senses toiletries (which was great since we didn’t bring any shower toiletries with us!). The bathroom had a separate bathtub and shower with great pressure and heat (silly thing but important to us). We also liked that the toilet was situated off to the side in its own enclosed space so we could use the restroom in peace and privacy while the other showered or brushed their teeth.
Having the sofa to flop on to after walking around the city was great and there were a few channels in English as well which meant we could watch a bit of TV before bed. We also appreciated the thick curtains that kept out the sun in the morning when we wanted to sleep in a little.
Considering we were staying at a reputable 5-star hotel in the center of the city, we thought it was fantastic value as we paid 160 EURO per night (in October). And despite a few small cons (see below) we would happily still stay here again on our next visit to KL!
Pros & Cons – A Quick Review.
- Central Location – The Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur has one of the best locations in the city. Situated right next to the Petronas Towers, the KLCC Shopping Complex and Metro Stop that connects you the to rest of the city and airport via Sentral.
- Service is amazing – The staff are very friendly and accommodating.
- Great Swimming Pool – The hotel’s infinity pool is a great retreat from the heat and the hustle of the city.
- Plenty of Entertainment – The hotel offers plenty of dining and entertainment options which are super convenient for leisure and business travelers on a quick stopover.
- Good Room Size – Room sizes are modest in size and all hotel rooms offer a view of some kind (although only selected room types offer tower views).
- Too Business Orientated – For us, this hotel had a very business orientated feel rather than leisurely holiday feel. Many guests were in full suits and the lounge and bar area felt very corporate.
- Dated Interior – The hotel is a little dated (especially the rooms) and doesn’t have a modern feel to it. Despite dated furnishings and a dim and dark decor, the hotel is very well maintained and we didn’t feel as though our room’s furniture was damaged in any way (just feel it needs refreshing and lightening).
- Expensive Services – During our first trip, we ordered a taxi to take us to the hotel (before Uber existed!) and we were charged about 30% more than the average rate for the same journey. While we can’t remember the exact amount we had it confirmed by a local that it was more expensive. So we figured you pay for the Mercedes car and comfort. This time we took an Uber!
- Room Categories – Not all rooms have a view of the tower and you do pay a premium to get this view. You could instead stay at the Traders Hotel where they have plenty of rooms that have a good view of the towers as well without paying such a large premium.