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BERJAYA TIMES SQUARE HOTEL
 

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LOCATION:
Berjaya Times Square Hotel is located along Jalan Imbi in the shopping precinct of Bukit Bintang. As it is the case with most places in Kuala Lumpur, driving into the hotel is not exactly straight-forward, even if you are already on Jalan Imbi but on the wrong side of the 6-lane road, moreover with the recent one-way street implementation in Bukit Bintang that further adds to the confusion. Anyhow, driving into the hotel is best approached from Jalan Tun Razak. At the junction into Jalan Bintang from the Royal Selangor Golf Club, look out for the signage to get into Jalan Imbi which should be on your left. You will be on the correct side of Jalan Imbi which means entering the hotel parking area is a breeze. If you are from Jalan Pudu, Jalan Bukit Bintang or Jalan Sultan Ismail, you will not be able to turn into the hotel, hence getting out to the correct side of Jalan Imbi is necessary (gosh, I probably have confused more readers than I should).

Anyhow, if you are traveling lightly, it is best to arrive via the KL Monorel trains which stop at the Jalan Imbi station which directly connects into Berjaya Times Square Hotel via covered overhead passage. KL Monorel access is directly available from the KL Sentral station which connects directly to KLIA via the KLIA Express train service.

DESCRIPTION:
Berjaya Times Square Hotel was finally opened in 2003 after many years of construction period. To be exact, the massive construction commenced in 1995 by the Berjaya Group, once a darling of Corporate Malaysia, and the project encountered a difficult and lean period during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. While the complex had finally completed some 4 years behind the schedule, remnants of the telling financial crisis can still be witnessed from a number of abandoned high-rise projects within the surrounding area. In a sense, the Berjaya Group was a heavily diversified entity in the old days, boasting the same rank as a number of politically-connected conglomerates such as Renong and United Engineers of Malaysia (UEM) Holdings, until the economic meltdown brought them to the knees with soaring debts and rising costs. Developed at a cost of RM1.8 billion, Berjaya Times Square boasts a colossal complex of 195,000 sq metre of retail space spanning across 12 floors, 35,300 sq metre of indoor theme park, 18,350 sq metre of extreme sports arena, 1,200 units of service suites inclusive of Berjaya Times Square Hotel, corporate offices and meeting spaces.

Gracing the 12-storey retail space are two 45-storey tower blocks called the East Wing and the West Wing on each end of the complex, which are partitioned into office units, private service suites purchased by individuals and 610 guest suites on 14-45th floors that constitute Berjaya Times Square Hotel. The hotel is managed by Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, an entity under the Berjaya Group via Berjaya Land Bhd, which portfolio include various other properties across Malaysia and worldwide, such as Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort, Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort, Berjaya Tioman Suites, Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, Berjaya Redang Spa Resort, Berjaya Georgetown Hotel, KL Plaza Suites, Colmar Tropicale Resort as well as a number of international properties in the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the United Kingdom. There are four types of suite category in Berjaya Times Square Hotel, ranging from 118 Studio Suites at a respectable 51 sq metre built-up size, 265 one-bedroom Superior Suites (57 sq metre), 140 one-bedroom Deluxe Suites (59 sq metre) and 87 two-bedroom Brooklyn Suites (99 sq metre). As for bedding configurations, the first two categories ie: Studio Suite and Superior Suite are available in both twin and king, while Deluxe Suite and Brooklyn Suite are only available with king beds. In general, each suite is furnished with individually-controlled air-conditioning, 29" colour TV, IDD telephones, entertainment set featuring DVD-enabled stereo system, mini fridge, kitchenette, electronic safe, en-suite bathroom with separate shower stall, bath tub, wash basin and bidet, as well as a separate living area. This review will be based on the experience staying in the Studio Suite of Berjaya Times Square Hotel.

At a whopping built-up of 51 sq metre of living, dining and bedding areas, the Studio Suite is decidedly spacious. Considering the Studio Suite is the lowest room category in the hotel, yet with a respectable built-up size that put most Superior- or Deluxe-category in other hotels to shame, the Studio Suite seems like a preferable choice for a medium-size family looking for a city vacation in the highly popular shopping strip of Bukit Bintang. The Studio Suite opens into a simple kitchenette which is equipped with overhead racks, stainless-steel sink, one-door refrigerator, microwave oven and others. Subsequently, the kitchenette opens into the living area which features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with views of the swimming pool, the Petronas twin towers and other parts of Kuala Lumpur. A combination of two- and three-seater couches are placed in the living area, together with a coffee table, standing lamps and a writing desk. Entrance into the bedding area is accessible from the living area which can be properly partitioned via a segmented sliding door should you require a privacy. The 29" colour TV is can be watched from both the living area and the bedding area via a turnstile rack. The bedroom exudes a more traditional feel to it, with usage of wooden bed frame as opposed to a mattress divan that is commonly seen anywhere else. The king-bedding is sufficiently comfortable with high-quality white bedsheet and decorative pillows of bold colour selections. Facing the king-bedding are a large dressing wardrobe as well as a wall-hung vanity mirror. An access door into the en suite bath is available from the bedding area, which upon entering will feature a wash basin with bath mirror, a bath tub and a glass-enclosed shower stall. The main bathroom is further separated from a so-called guest restroom via a connecting door. The latter is directly accessible from the front entrance, hence is more suited for visiting guests without having them going through the bedding area. The guest restroom opens back to the entrance door, pretty much where we started. In the end, I find that the Studio Suite is acceptably appointed albeit being too conventional for my partial taste for modern, chic or stylish design selections.

As its name would suggest, the hotel hosts a number of meeting areas of various and sizeable configurations. Featuring a total space of 1,750 sq metre that can accommodate 2,000-plus guests is the Manhattan Ballroom, which can also be partitioned into three function rooms, namely Manhattan I, Manhattan II and Manhattan III. Separately, there are six meeting rooms with available sizes from 80 sq metre to 180 sq metre named Bronx I to Bronx VI. As for health facilities, gracing the entire roof-top of the retail floors is a one-stop family attraction called the Central Park. The area can be access from the hotel at Level 15. The main feature for the Central Park is a massive swimming pool which runs almost the entire length of the floor, complete with man-made waterfalls, water jets, wading area, gazebos and tropical landscaping. Plenty of sunning beds and umbrellas are provided along its length while more tropical gardens are featured on the elevated walking path slightly above the pool area. Also on Level 15 are a well-equipped fitness centre offering a view of the pool area, as well as a JoJoBa Spa outlet which is actually operated by a third-party concern.

Interestingly, there are only two F&B outlets in the hotel, perhaps to ensure that its guests would make a point to traverse into the adjoining 12-storey shopping mall for shopping and dining. Both of the outlets are located on Level 14 of the East Wing where the main lobby and reception desk are located. The main dining outlet is the Big Apple Restaurant, which is done in a stylish apple-green colour theme that is not too overbearing. The restaurant features various configurations of seating arrangement suited for a family or a couple. There is not much of an open-kitchen concept being employed in the restaurant which is a rather good thing considering everyone else is doing it. Next to the Big Apple Restaurant lies the Broadway Lounge which offers a panoramic skyline of Kuala Lumpur from its floor-to-ceiling glass wall. The beverage bar is nicely featured as a center piece visible from its various seating arrangements. Live music performances are presented on the Broadway Lounge on selected nights.

All in all, the location of Berjaya Times Square Hotel could not be faulted, while the suites and facilities are of acceptable standard. If you are wondering about its naming choices such as Brooklyn, Central Park, Bronx, Manhattan, Broadway and Big Apple, just remember that the name Times Square itself is everything that screams "New York, New York" to everyone. 

REVIEWED ON:
February 2008

MY VERDICT:
Fantastic location. Extra-spacious Studio Suite although with a conservative design mindset. Humongous swimming pool which makes it great for families.

MY RATING:

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