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Extra Photo Gallery: West Wing | East Wing | Deluxe Room | Superior Room | Pool, Spa & Gym

LOCATION:

Renaissance Hotel is located right at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It sits adjacent to Wisma Denmark which is an office building, Malaysian Tourist Information Centre (MATIC), and the Embassy of Pakistan. Driving into the hotel building can be somewhat confusing and the only access is by coming from the northern and the western ends of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang respectively. If you are driving from KLCC or Bukit Bintang, there is no direct entry into the hotel and you will need to make a U-turn somewhere. The closest rail access is via the KL Monorel at the Bukit Nanas station, which connects from points in Bukit Bintang. There is also a PUTRA LRT station at Dang Wangi next to Wisma Denmark, from which you can walk across the road to the hotel complex.

Please note that parking is chargeable at RM8 per day for hotel guests.

DESCRIPTION:
Straddling at the busy intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang in a prime location of Kuala Lumpur, the twin towers of Renaissance Hotel, each at 26-storey of height, is hard to miss. In fact, the hotel has been in the hospitality scene of Kuala Lumpur since 1996, just about the same period when the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) development had reached the completion of the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Initially marketed as two separate entities which went by the names of Renaissance Hotel and New World Hotel, the operation of the two hotels was finally merged in 2007, creating an enormous establishment of 921 guest rooms and suites (a combination of the 400-room old Renaissance Hotel and the 521-room New World Hotel). The hotel complex is jointly owned by IGB Corporation Berhad, a renowned property developer, and New World Development Co Ltd of Hong Kong. In recent days, an adjoining luxurious condominium named Cendana developed by Tan & Tan Bhd had risen in the rear section of the hotel complex, which is not surprising as the company is now owned by IGB. The merged hotel entity is now distinguished by the East Wing (former New World Hotel) and the West Wing (the old Renaissance Hotel), each with different style of designs and market focus.

The merged hotel operation is managed by the Renaissance Hotels & Resorts chain, which comes under the Marriott International hotel group. A rather interesting fact since IGB itself is known to have its own hotel management concern that goes by the name of Cititel Hotel Management (CHM) which include a number of Cititel and Cititel Express hotels, Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Boulevard Hotel, The Gardens Hotel & Residence, Micasa Services Suites and UK-based St Giles. Despite the said merger, the hotel retains two separate lobbies, each at the East Wing and the West Wing respectively. The West Wing lobby exudes a more European feel with renaissance-inspired touches such as massive Roman pillars and Anglo-Franco wall arts and decors. The East Wing lobby, on the other hand, sports a more modern and colourful look. In short, the two separate lobbies should sufficiently set the tone what each wing has to offer in term of its rooms, suites and F&B outlets.

The East Wing features Superior room category with choices of twin- or king-bedding configuration, Club Superior with executive benefits, 1-bedroom Executive Suite and 2-bedroom Presidential Suite, while the West Wing offers Deluxe category, also with twin- or king-bedding configuration, Club Deluxe, 1-bedroom Renaissance Suite and 2-bedroom Royal Suite. There are two separate reception desks at the West Wing and the East Wing for respective check-in and check-out procedures as well as two Executive Club lounges in each tower block. A good tip is to ensure which reception desk you are heading to beforehand, although the two main lobbies are interconnected by a concourse level which houses numerous meeting and function rooms. In general, each room and suite is fitted with individually-controlled air conditioning, bedside alarm clock, IDD telephones, en-suite bath, coffee and tea making facilities, mini bar, electronic safe, iron with ironing board, hair dryer, colour TV with satellite channels, writing desk with power outlets, walk-in wardrobe, shoe rack, etc. With the total number of rooms and suites being almost double to most hotels in Kuala Lumpur, malaysiahotelreview.com feels that it is more appropriate to feature the first-hand experience of staying in the Superior room and the Deluxe room of the East Wing and the West Wing respectively.

The Deluxe room of the West Wing can best be summarised as elegant, opulent and classy. Living up to the West Wing's neo-classical theme, the Deluxe room is vividly embellished with European touches as witnessed from the wall paintings, the bed frame and others. The twin beds are plush and comfortable with layers of soft mattress protector topped off by down pillows of varying hardness. Adding some colours to the white cotton sheet are dark-red bed runners and decorative pillows which will be removed if you opt for the evening turn-down service. A writing desk equipped with a reading lamp, an IDD phone and multi-point socket outlets is placed in one corner, adjacent to a large floor-to-ceiling glass window. As for my case, I was assigned to the one commanding the view of the swimming pool. The two twin beds are fronting a TV cabinet with an old 25" colour TV which has probably seen its better days. With an upcoming renovation project for both the East Wing and the West Wing has already been announced by the hotel management, a certain factory owner of LCD TV sets will soon be laughing his or her way to the bank. The bathroom, in all honesty, is non-descript. It is nice and of decent size, but could help by some sprucing ups in the future. In fact, I found that one of the shower knobs broke loose which should at least tell us something about the age of the room. In a nutshell, the Deluxe room of the West Wing goes for a distinctive classical look and does it acceptably well.

Now, moving on to the Superior room in the East Wing. If appearance was to be pre-judged by the look of the East Wing lobby, one has to say the room shall take on a fairly modern and stylish look. Much to my unpleasant surprise, the Superior room was a huge let down, for reasons that I will elaborate further. While I am not exactly fond of classic European room designs (read: J W Marriott, The Ritz Carlton), the previous Deluxe room was decent and comfortable. Unfortunately, I could not say the same thing for the Superior room in the East Wing. The room features a king bed covered in a sombre-looking flowery brown sheet. A shocking design selection I must say and should no longer be placed at any 5-star hotels anywhere. The bedding is also less comfortable with minimal mattress layering and non-down pillows. In short, forgettable at best. Featured in the Superior room as well are two-seater red sofa which is quite nice, a writing desk, an old 25" colour TV, built-in wardrobe and others. The bathroom is somewhat similar with the Deluxe room which I wrote about earlier which is quite feature-less and requires some refurbishment. I have to say the Superior room is a total disappointment and it comes to no surprise that the hotel management will first commence the renovation on all rooms on the East Wing.

In term of guest facilities, Renaissance Hotel has plenty of them. For example, the hotel hosts all its meeting and banqueting space within a dedicated concourse level connecting between the East Wing and the West Wing, spanning across some floors. The Grand Ballroom of the hotel boasts a dedicated grand entrance from the street and it can host up to 2,000 guests within its 15,000-odd sq ft of function space. Other than than, there are 24 meeting rooms throughout the concourse floors of various built-up and configuration, sufficiently catered for any functions of any sizes. Shared between the two wings (and probably the adjoining Cendana condominium too) is an expansive swimming pool that runs almost the full length of the hotel complex. Landscaped features such as water fountains, tropical shrubs, coconut trees and wooden bridge are placed throughout, together with ample sunning beds and umbrellas. Accessible from the pool area are two health facilities; a fitness centre and one Mandara Spa outlet.

Judging from the relative size of the hotel, it comes to no surprise that Renaissance Hotel boasts nine F&B outlets spreading across the two wings. On the West Wing lobby lies the Lobby Lounge which is done in a more conservative style of traditional furniture with neutral colours and European-inspired paintings. The lounge features tall floor-to-ceiling glass windows that command the view of Jalan Ampang on the outside. Also accessible from the West Wing lobby is Vogue Cafe, which is an all-day dining outlet. While I normally would not comment on names of any F&B outlets, I have to question the reason to use the word "vogue" for this one. Upon seeing the overall dining arrangement of Vogue Cafe, you will probably start wondering where the "vogue" part comes in. In short, Vogue Cafe looks like just any other all-day dining outlet. One floor up from the West Wing lobby lies two outlets, namely Sagano Restaurant and Mezzo Bar & Lounge. Sagano Restaurant is a renowned Japanese cuisine outlet which has bagged a number of culinary awards. Sagano Restaurant is often filled to the brim hence it is recommended to call ahead to reserve your seats. Mezzo Bar & Lounge, on the other hand, is more of a casual sports bar equipped with large projector screen for live TV broadcasts, a pool table and a cocktail serving counter. Last but not least, an exciting Mediterranean outlet called Med@Marche lies on the 2nd floor (Level 3). The restaurant is a highly-fancied watering hole for those seeking for exquisite Mediterranean fares in a setting that is as authentic it can be. The interior of Med@Marche reeks in bold colours such as dark red, bright orange and rich terracotta, while the use of black wrought-iron fixtures, hand-blown glass pendant lamps and wall sconces complete the overall design package. Med@Marche uniquely features a simplified menu of less than 30 food items ranging from appetisers, ubiquitous Italian fares like home-made pizzas and pastas, as well as selective seafood and meat cuisines.

Moving on, the East Wing lobby features TEMPTations, an all-day dining outlet that can easily impress any passers-by. It was originally called Tempt Restaurant or something to that effect, and used to sport a more traditional dining look until it was renovated and subsequently rebranded. Today, TEMPTations reeks in bright red colour with a modern Asian open-kitchen concept where meal preparations can be witnessed directly from your dining table. Right in front of TEMPTations is a pastry bar where delightful cakes and bread items can be purchased. On the 1st floor (Level 2) lie two F&B outlets - the Stage Lounge and Dynasty Chinese Restaurant. Comparing with the Lobby Lounge on the West Wing, the Stage Lounge looks a bit more stylish and young, with colourful usage of seating chairs and coffee tables. Live band performance is available at the Stage Lounge on some nights. Meanwhile, Dynasty Chinese Restaurant boasts a contemporary dining setting unlike most other Chinese restaurants out there. Dynasty Chinese Restaurant only opens for lunch and dinner. Lastly, as a shared outlet between the two hotel wings, the Gazebo Poolside Bar is located right in the middle of the pool area and it serves light drinks and snacks. Small corporate functions or BBQ dinner are also frequently hosted by the poolside bar.

Overall, the experience of staying at both the West Wing and the East Wing was of a pleasant one. My minor dissatisfactions include the relative lack of speediness for check-in process at both wings and one case of malfunctioned access card. For whatever benign reason that the hotel had, quite a significant number of reception staff were of "trainee" status, hence things did get messy during peak periods for guest check-in and check-out. My impression was, especially on the West Wing reception, that ten front-desk personnel of experienced and trainee mixture were attending a mere four guests. The lack of experience was evident when a staff only assigned me with one access card that failed to work after trudging with my slightly heavy luggage. An example of minor problem that can easily tick the guests off. Another occasion was at the East Wing reception when I seemed to be overtaken by a mat saleh guy which almost made lose my head (especially after waiting and staring at the reception desk for so long). The staff who attended to my check-in process, nevertheless, was extremely apologetic to that unfortunate incident. Otherwise, the guest services were rendered in good spirit, as dogmatised by the mantra "Delighted to Serve" as portrayed throughout the hotel. Staff attentiveness could not be faulted - my request for an additional bottled water was answered with an extra complimentary bottle, wait staff at Med@Marche constantly in feedback-seeking mode on their food and services, empty breakfast plates at both Vogue Cafe and TEMPTations were cleared promptly and the general services with a smile and occasional greetings.

REVIEWED ON:
June 2008

MY VERDICT:
Good location. Questionable parking charges for in-house guests. Great rooms at the West Wing but not so great at the East Wing. Acceptable service quality, better yet if less "trainees" are deployed during vital periods. A fantastic selection of F&B outlets. Perhaps a five-star rating from malaysiahotelreview.com after the renovation?

MY RATING:

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