JW Marriott Hotel is located on Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. As Jalan Bukit Bintang is a one-way street, the direct access into the hotel building is from Jalan Raja Chulan which connects from Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Pinang. There is actually another lesser-known access from Jalan Imbi, which is also a one-way street on the back-end of the hotel building. The access is via a right-hand turn at The Ritz Carlton into Jalan Walter Grenier on which the entrance into the hotel parking is located. In general, JW Marriott Hotel sits right next to The Westin Hotel & Residences and the Starhill Gallery, as well as The Pavilion across the street.
Access to the hotel via KL Monorel trains is much easier by disembarking at the Bukit Bintang station. From the station, one can walk through the Bintang Walk for 5 minutes until you arrive at the front entrance of JW Marriott Hotel.
JW Marriott Hotel was introduced to the market by Taiping Consolidated Berhad in 1997 which ironically was during the Asian financial crisis that brought the country to the knees. It was proven to be a trying time for the the company to hold on to the property during such lean periods until the hotel ownership was taken over by none other than the innovative and financially-strong YTL Group just one year later. Finding a silver lining in every dark cloud, the YTL Group took up the ownership of JW Marriott Hotel and the adjoining Starhill and Lot 10 shopping complexes from the cash-strapped company, a financial deal that often appears in business case studies from around the world. Today, the Bukit Bintang shopping strip is one of the country's well-sought-after retail locations and the YTL Group is sitting pretty with a handsome parcel of land consisting of another high-end hotel ie: The Ritz Carlton (also introduced in 1997), the rebranded Starhill Gallery and the Lot 10 shopping centre (also to be renovated).
Sitting in a 29-storey building of granite-brown colours and tinted blue-green glass windows, the hotel boasts a whopping 561 rooms and suites spanning across 26 floors. It is managed by the JW Marriott Hotels & Resort, a luxury arm under the Marriott International, Inc of Bethesda, MD, USA. One cannot be faulted to think the hotel is under a regular Marriott brand due to the name resemblance, but the JW Marriott brand is actually much more upscale. The hotel logo also does not carry the ubiquitous bright-red Marriott emblem which in some ways should signify its status symbol as there are only 39 JW Marriot hotels and resorts worldwide. The main lobby sports a more traditional look with literally no stylish frills. The features of the main lobby are of the usual suspects - sky-reaching Roman pillars, expensive marbled floor, large chandelier lights, European-inspired wall paintings, wrought-iron grills and others. The reception desk directly faces the grand entrance while a concierge desk is placed at a corner. Comfortable cushion sofa are placed sparingly within the main lobby for lounging and waiting. As the main lobby is generally very well-securitised due to the stature of some guests of the hotel, it is very much manned by security personnel round the clock, which in my case made photo-taking a bit awkward. Nevertheless, there was no untoward query on my rather incessant picture-snapping, perhaps knowing that despite my Malaysian look, I was also a guest of the hotel (yet, oddly certain lower-class hotels had the audacity to do otherwise, which if you read malaysiahotelreview.com well enough, you would know the culprit).
As mentioned previously, JW Marriott Hotel hosts 561 rooms and suites. In the lowest category is the Deluxe room with 40 sq metre built-up. Moving up the categories are the Junior Suite (71 sq metre), Studio Suite (65 sq metre), 1-bedroom Suite (72 sq metre), 2-bedroom Suite (98 - 104 sq metre), VIP Suite (either 565 sq metre or 577 sq metre) and Presidential Suite (1,838 sq metre). Guests staying on all Suite categories are able to access the JW Lounge on the 24th floor. Note that the lounge strictly imposes a no-sandal and no-collarless-shirt rule. The hotel introduces "The Room That Works" concept for all its rooms and suites, which is especially catered for corporate executives with design elements are slanting towards a productive business stay. In general, each room and suite is furnished with air-conditioning with individual climate control, alarm clock, coffee & tea making facility, electronic safe, bath robes, hair dryer, mini bar, TV with satellite channels and IDD phone with speaker/voice mail. This review, without a shadow of doubt, is for my stay in the Deluxe room. It is important also to note that this more or less is a re-visit to the hotel, which last review was written back in 2002. Plus, do you seriously think I can afford anything higher than a Deluxe room at JW Marriott Hotel?
It is a pleasant surprise that the Deluxe room has been refurbished as it looks starkly different than what I saw previously [see the old Deluxe room circa 2002]. A complete renovation is not exactly correct as the Deluxe room still retains its overall look and partition between the bedding area and the bathroom. Old furniture have been replaced with newer ones and the hotel has decided to do away with the ancient-style semi-poster wooden bed frame. Taking the centre-stage is a nicer king-bedding that guests can easily identify with. The king-bedding is expectedly plush and inviting, with high-quality linens, down comforter and a combination of foam and down pillows. A black leather 2-seater has made way for a brown micro-fibre that adds more colours to the Deluxe room without forsaking its elegance. Placed next to it is a writing desk that features adjustable reading light, high-back executive chair, desk-mounted electrical outlets, IDD phone with speaker and complimentary internet access. Coming back to "The Room That Works" concept, the amenities provided on the writing desk are particularly targeted for corporate travelers. For example, the internet access is shockingly fast for a city known for its relatively sub-standard internet services. Web pages are rendered within a blink of an eye, while downloading speed for Bittorrent files ranges from 300-500 kbps (yes, it was an actual internet speed, unlike certain ISPs labeling theirs at 384 kbps, 512 kbps, 1.0 Mbps or even 3.6 Mbps without much shame of extorting money from the public). The TV set in the Deluxe room still features an old model which I hope that the YTL Group, being always one-step ahead of the pack, will deploy one of those 32" or 40" LCD TVs. The bathroom is rather similar like the old days, featuring separate wash basin, glass-enclosed shower stall and long bath. Nothing much could be faulted on the refurbished Deluxe room - it retains its conservative look which is highly fancied by a certain market segment, yet still features modern amenities that most of us cannot live without (OK now, how can I get one of those lightning-speed internet access to my home?).
The hotel is one of the most preferred venues for MICE events due to its central location. At 888 sq metre of meeting and banqueting space, the Mayang Sari Ballroom is not exactly the biggest there is, but still can easily sit in about 800 guests in a grandiose setting. Also within the same Level 3 are ancillary room named Mayang Sari I - IV. Other than that, there are 9 function rooms named Starhill 1-9 on Level 4 of the hotel. The pre-function area is also impressive with high pillars, elegant chandeliers, wrought-iron roses and terracotta Grecian urns. Also on Level 4 is a business centre which is conveniently placed close to the function areas. As for health facilities, the hotel features a 245 sq metre fitness centre which glass wall curvature opens out to the view of the Petronas twin towers, a spa outlet called Starhill Spa offering treatment menus of Malay, Thai, Hungarian, Chinese, Indian and French influence, aerobic room, steam/sauna room and tennis courts. The swimming pool is located on Level 6 with partial views of the city. The swimming pool is designed in a more conventional rectangle shape and comes with a wading pool, a kid's pool and man-made waterfalls. As for F&B outlets, the hotel hosts 4 restaurants and bars under its roof, while the 13 upscale restaurants of the Feast Village in the adjoining Starhill Gallery are often promoted as well. The main dining outlet is the Marriott Café which graces perimeter of the pool area. In general, this all-day dining outlet offers choices of indoor dining and alfresco setting. The Marriott Café serves local and international fares in buffet-style selections or a la carté menus. On the 3rd floor of the hotel lies, get this, the Third Floor Restaurant which is very chic and features fusion fares from the French, Australian and Pacific-Rim influences. Also on the 3rd floor is the Shanghai Restaurant which specialises in elegant yet little-known Shanghainese cuisines. Finally, a cigar divan called Casa Havana is located one floor down from the main lobby. Casa Havana offers the finest cigars with premium alcoholic beverages in a rather old-world feel.
Overall, the experience of staying once again at JW Marriott Hotel was of a pleasant and trouble-free one. The guest services were adequate without being overbearing. Smiles and greetings were imparted as and when needed. Finally, to my surprise, the hotel still retains the complimentary car wash for staying guests, just as the case during my previous stay in 2002. Driving out of the hotel building, I noticed the gesture note on how the hotel took the liberty to clean my car, also just like the last time. This might be a re-visit, but I came out even more satisfied that before.
Superb location, luxurious feeling throughout, guest services without a fault. Great and well-appointed Deluxe rooms. Pricing is a tad on a premium side, but you will get what you paid for.