Monday, 17 February 2014

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Shangri-La Hotel's Lobby

Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


We arrive to the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur directly after an intense workweek Friday afternoon. Immediate calm overcomes us as we enter the softly scented grand lobby. It’s their signature scent, Essence of Shangri-La, with notes of vanilla, musk, bergamot, tea and ginger. It’s a small nicety, but one that defines Shangri-La properties, signifying attention to detail and care in forming environments of harmony and beauty for their guests.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Shangri-La Essence
Magnificent floral arrangements adorn a spiral staircase, the centerpiece of the lobby, which leads the eye in a splendid corkscrew motion up to the second floor and strikingly lofty ceiling. There’s glass and greenery all around. Our eyes are drawn to the lounge. It breathes a graceful elegance with its floor to ceiling windows overlooking a fountained pond and lush tropical garden. We make a mental note to make time for a visit this weekend.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Reception
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Fresh Floral Arrangements Adorn the Hotel 
The entrance is abuzz with well-dressed clients. Stylishly dressed ladies loll by the windows sipping cups of tea, while business travelers stride to and from the valet off to their next appointment.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Lobby Lounge with Stunning Water Views
Looking to recharge our batteries, we’ve booked two nights at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur for a staycation. Avoiding the hassle and expense of leaving the city, time has been optimized and we arrive well before sunset. We’ve requested the Horizon Club so have a speedy check-in in the comfort of our room. Fresh floral arrangements, a fruit platter and a pretty box of house made chocolates give a warm welcoming touch.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Vase of Flowers in our Room
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Shangri-La Welcome
Distracted momentarily by the enormity of the room, it takes us almost a full minute to notice the magnificent view. Tall windows look out over the street and up to the city’s iconic twin towers. We’re already imagining the following morning lounging in our suite, sipping fresh espresso coffee from our in-room machine, glancing through the day’s journal and repeatedly gazing up at KL’s pride.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Day Time View from Our Room
Our room is fresh but of a style of an older generation. It reminds of a time when things were built to last. Solid wooden furniture, lavish marble and high-grade carpet provide a sturdy base. Shimmering fabrics, warm lighting and an abundance of mirrors outfit it with a splash of glam. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and every comfort imaginable in a hotel is available: mini-bar; coffee machine; safe; printer; three TVs (including one in the bathroom); multiple light and air-conditioning controls; DVD player; the list goes on.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Dressing Room
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Coffee Machine and Printer
The perfection shown in workmanship on finer details such as cornices and architraves has me wondering who their contractor is and, might I possibly be able to employ him to fix up some of our home’s shoddy renovations.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Horizon Club Room
We’re delighted with the separate living, sleeping, bathing and dressing spaces. All are divided by heaven wooden sliding doors meaning minimal disturbance – especially with our different sleep patterns – hubby is the night owl and I’m the early bird. But now it’s cocktail hour and we’re ready to take advantage of the Horizon Club benefits.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Living Area of Horizon Club Room
The Horizon Club is filled with natural light thanks to tall bordering windows. It’s a large space but separated with ornate dividers – carved white wood backed with mirrors. Fawn hued walls and beige wing chairs provide a neutral palette for the room. Lavender and dark coral lounges and carpet warm the canvas.  Giant empire style lampshades rimmed with silver hang midway between floor and ceiling creating more cozy hubs. It’s a soft Art Deco theme with some shiny metallics and geometric lines defining features.  

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Horizon Club
Throughout the day, refreshments flow freely, with fruit, cake and biscuits for the nibbling. High speed Wi-Fi, use of the business centre and, even a children’s playroom make the floor a popular location for the most part of the day. Early evening however hosts two hours of cocktails, which brings the large room to almost maximum capacity. Light finger food, wine, beer and spirits enliven guests turning the club into an even more amiable atmosphere. 

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Horizon Club
Hubby quaffs an Australian sauvignon blanc, while I mix my own Gin and Tonic. From our window perch, we grin at the traffic below, on the jammed Jalan Sultan Ismail, congratulating ourselves on our decision to vacation without attempting to leave the city. A fresh fruit and cheese platter appeases my hunger, as do a plate of sushi and array of Japanese dishes for hubby. We’re pooped and decide on a lazy night, so check out some DVDs from the Horizon Club and move back to our room.

Barely keeping my eyes open until the end of the movie, we hit the sack, and I hardly remember my head hitting the pillow before I’m awake and fresh the next day. We luxuriate in the lush bed linens until the sun rises. We’ve had such a restful night we wonder if the bedding is for sale.

Returning to the Horizon Club lounge, breakfast is a short a la carte menu supported by a buffet of hot and cold items. Local favourites, Western classics and a pleasantly comprehensive bakery section are more than enough to start the day with enthusiasm. I order the Eggs Florentine and, hubby the Pancake Stack. Simple fluffy rounds please hubby and I’m satisfied with my runny eggs and creamy Hollandaise sauce that brings with it a slight tang. Everything seems possible here. My requests are taken with a smile and, to my wonder (I’m perhaps a little jaded from too many miscommunications with service staff in Malaysia), come back fulfilled - wholemeal bread instead of white, my choice of skim or soy milk for coffee, hubby’s desire for extra turkey ham as a side – our wishes are accurately executed and not a problem.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Eggs Florentine
It’s such a pleasant environment in the Horizon Club that we spend a leisurely morning reading the day’s newspapers and browsing the grand assortment of magazines available. The sun begins to find a path through the morning’s overcast sky and sparks our interest in a visit to the pool.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Horizon Club Reception
We take a spot on shaded chaise lounges by the lagoon shaped pool. Water fountains spurt from the edge and tropical gardens insulate the outdoor space from the surrounding metropolis. It feels like an island escape until we look up and marvel at the vista glimmering above the treetops. Peaks of the Petronas twin towers on one side and, the KL tower on the other, seem to gaze down on us from their heavenly heights. We smile and think how lucky we are to enjoy both nature and man-made architectural wonders all from the comfort of our poolside chairs.  

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
A Peak at the Petronas Twin Towers from the Pool
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
View of KL Tower from One Side of Pool
Hunger twangs and we’re grateful for the light meal and beverage options available at the Poolside Terrace. Hubby orders the Grilled Beef Burger (RM42) and I the Sunshine Salad (RM40). Salads, burgers, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas dominate the menu with kids options and healthy choices too. There’s a thorough drink list, covering all of the bases: cocktails; spirits; wine; beer; soft drinks; fresh juices and; smoothies. A buzzer is placed on our table with the invitation to press it anytime we need service.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Sunshine Salad at the Poolside Terrace
Hubby’s burger is a tower of bun sandwiching 220grams of Australian ground beef, cheddar cheese, onion and tomato slices and, pickles. Long fries side the plate with a turret of crisp onions rings. He bites in and juice spills from his lips. The deep guttural “mmm” he’s murmuring suggests a thumbs-up. My salad is bedded with Belgian endives, which fan around the plate forming a pretty platter for the rest of the ingredients: mesclun greens; olives; sun-dried tomatoes; blue cheese and; caramelized walnuts. It’s a combination of garden fresh (provided by the salad leaves) and rich decadence (thanks to the caramelized nuts and creamy cheese).

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Beef Burger Poolside Terrace
Most of our day has been filled with mental repose and physical relaxation so we decide it’s time for a change of pace and head to the gym. The Health Club is excellent. A good range of cardio and strength equipment, alongside free weights, mats and balls are in fine function. Media systems hooked up to the cardio machines make time pass quickly and we work out much longer than our usual hour (I want to see the end of the movie I’m tuned into!). Hubby heads off to use the sauna and steam room. We leave energized and head back to our room to prepare for the evening’s fun.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Health Club - Green Views
I appreciate the amenities of the room as I shower and prim. L’Occitane bath products smell divine and the lighted magnifying make-up mirror is perfect for plucking eyebrows and ensuring my eyeliner is evenly drawn. A hair dryer, iron and ironing board and, full length mirrors make getting ready more comfortable than my own home. With a separate dressing room, a dressing table and the generous bathroom area, hubby and I are able to avoid clashes and are ready without incident. (Not doing well in small spaces, his and hers bathrooms in our own home have spared our marriage ;-). Tonight is special. We’ve reserved a table at Lafite.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Bathroom
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
L'Occitane Bath Products
Lafite is Shangri-La’s fine dining restaurant and has long held a reputation around the city as being one of the best. The location is centred by a giant glass sculpture and windows overlook lush tropical gardens. Service is supreme and the wine list is one of the finest in the city. Chefs change, but standards are consistent. The top masters in their field are recruited and, the restaurant has benefited from a stream of well-reputed names gracing the kitchen.

Chef de Cuisine, Jean-Philippe Guiard, is the current head of the crew and, with a line up of Michelin starred restaurants behind him, we’re expecting grand things.

Beginning with a glass of bubbly in the Red Room, Champagne Bar, our appetites are whet and our thoughts enthusiastic. We could easily pass a couple of hours here but remember we want to try chef’s set menu, which is a line up of six courses, so switch our low lounges and dimly lit room for the elegant fine dining set up of Lafite.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
The Red Room Champagne Bar
Service is superb, ambience romantic and the food exquisite. Usually there’s at least one dish that either hubby or I are not so fond of in a set menu, but chef has wowed us with a sensational line-up of impeccably executed recipes and we’re impressed with every single one. There are scallops, oysters, foie gras, wild turbot and wagyu. Long legged wine glasses are kept topped throughout the meal and pairing suggestions are at our ready.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Lafite - French Fine Dining
Chef Jean-Philippe’s menu has left us dreamily satisfied so we move to the lobby lounge to linger a little longer in the lushness of Shangri-La’s quality food and beverage outlets. The lounge is an opulent space with soaring ceilings, glass and gentle illumination everywhere. A live band plays in the evenings so we savour a few tunes along with a cocktail and digestif before retiring for the night.

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Live Music in the Lobby Lounge
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
View at Night from Our Room
All too soon it’s morning again and we’re up for brekkie. Horizon Club comes with the benefit of choice. If you prefer a quiet elegance during breakfast, the lounge is at your call. If you revel in the unlimited array of dishes offered by a large hotel buffet, Lemon Garden Café is at your service. Wanting to experience it all we head to the smorgasbord on the ground floor this morning.

Lemon Garden Café is alive with a cheery buzz. Colour dazzles the eye with fresh food spread around the room as far as the eye can see. Learning from past experiences I hone in on one section (healthy and fresh) as I tend to get overwhelmed by too many options. Hubby on the other hand celebrates the diversity and returns to the table with Chinese noodles, Japanese soup, Indian naan and a big plate of eggs, sausages and mushrooms. There’s certainly something here for everyone. The buffet is not only frequented by hotel guests, but a favourite amongst locals for dinner and weekend brunch too. It’s advisable to go early if you’re not fond of crowds and, to book ahead if you can’t avoid peak periods.

It’s our last day at the Shang so we revisit the pool and the gym before preparing for check out. Determined though to extend our luxury weekend just a little longer we leave our bags with the concierge and spend our final meal at the hotel at Zipangu.

The weekend brunch at Zipangu, Shangri-La’s Japaneserestaurant, has long been a favourite amongst weekend gourmets. Set on the lower floor, it overlooks landscaped gardens and cascading waterfalls. A fine range of ready-made sushi, salads, hot dishes and desserts, are supplemented by live cooking stations, where teppanyaki, noodles, sashimi and other goodies are made fresh to order.

From the Teppan - Zipangu
We soak up the ambience, tasting a variety of Japanese dishes and appreciating the quality and high level of care behind each plate. Free flowing tea is poured, with the option of hot or iced. Tradition demands we finish with the house-made green tea ice cream and, we take it by the teaspoon full, attempting to lengthen our time in these beautiful surrounds for as long as possible. But, alas time passes and we must say goodbye.

Japanese Tea
We leave our weekend staycation at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur rejuvenated, relaxed, but already pondering our next return.

Reason to visit: exceptional service; convenient location; comprehensive facilities.

Shangri-La Hotel
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail
Kuala Lumpur 50250
Malaysia
+6 03 2032 2388



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4 comments:

  1. Five star, luxury at its best! Sure makes a lot of sense to check into one of these for a relaxing weekend. Sure beats the hassle of travelling and ending up paying more for something a lot less elsewhere...and coming home even more tired than before you left.

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  2. Never had the luxury of staying in a Shangri-La, but had dinner at Zipangu once, was excellent, my first experience with foie gras in fact.

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  3. somehow shang remains our topmost favourite hotel in KL; their unbelievably comfy beds may just be one of the contributing factors! and not to mention the phenomenal food at all their restaurants as well sighhhh~ this post is giving us urgent cravings to replicate the staycation idea haha =D

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  4. I need to join this club now!
    Can I be the president? ;)

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