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SHANGRI-LA KUALA LUMPUR
 

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Extra Photo Gallery: Room | Restaurants | Pool | Tropical Garden

LOCATION:

KL Shangri-la Hotel is located on Jalan Sultan Ismail at its bustling intersection with Jalan P Ramlee. The closest KL Monorel stations are either at Bukit Nanas or at Raja Chulan. The walking distance from these two monorail stations is about 5 minutes. The nearest Putra LRT station is at Dang Wangi, from which walking will take about 10 minutes.

DESCRIPTION:
KL Shangri-la has stamped its mark in the hotel scene since time immemorial. In theory, Shangri-la is truly a revered global brand with a touch of Malaysian hospitality. In fact, the Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts Group is headed by a well-known Malaysian business tycoon that goes by the name of Robert Kuok, although this hotel chain is currently being headquartered in Hong Kong.

The hotel is placed within a commercial complex called UBN Tower which also hosts an office building and a serviced apartment. The number of guestrooms at KL Shangri-la Hotel is utterly jaw-dropping. There are a whopping 701 rooms and suites in the hotel spanning across its 30+ floors. The lower-end accommodation includes 70 Deluxe rooms, 369 Executive rooms and 78 Premier rooms. The hotel also hosts 103 Horizon Club guest rooms which can be further differentiated into Executive, Premier and Suite types. At the distinguished higher-end of the spectrum, the hotel offers 31 units ranging from Apartment suites, One-Bedroom suites, Specialty suites, one Shangri-la suite and one Royal suite. Room sizes vary from a mere 37 m˛ to a lip-smacking 200+ m˛ in either Shangri-la suite or Royal suite.

At my corporate room rate (which I thought was already exorbitant, by the way), I was assigned to a Deluxe room. At a paltry size of 37 m˛, the Deluxe room is slightly smaller than average. My room was situated on a corner section of the hotel building, hence the curvature of the glass window did strip out some space. The floor-to-ceiling glass window is an added plus although nothing much can be said about the view which is partially blocked by the surrounding office buildings. At the very least, my Deluxe room boasted a side view of the imposing KL Tower and the greenery of Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.

If I could make peace with the measly room size, I could not do the same with the overall room design and fitting. Everything inside the room looks disappointingly outdated. The hotel has undergone a high-scale renovation a few years ago but I guess the management had decided to stick with this lacklustre look which sadly appeals more to older generations than to yours truly.

Anyway, the Deluxe room is equipped with a comfortable queen-sized bed, a flat-screen colour TV, an IDD telephone with bathroom extension, broadband internet access, a writing desk, an unappealing mini bar with poorly arranged snacks and beverages, a mini fridge, tea and coffee making facilities as well as an electronic safe. On a slightly positive note, there is a small enclosure separated from the bedding zone which houses a generously sized wardrobe. Other than that, the Deluxe room has a one-seater blue suede sofa with a glass table as some sort of a small lounging area. At this room size, all the added fitting can be relatively crowded.

The bathroom can also be considered as average for me. It is quite spacious but I was surprised to learn that the hot shower is combined together with the bath tub. Perhaps again, not enough space for a separate shower stall. The wash basin is acceptably nice with a tiered wall rack where the bathroom kits are appropriately arranged. The is a peculiar wash basin near the bathroom entrance which has an uncanny resemblance to a toilet bowl. It took me some time to figure out what it was and I should refraining from explaining what it is used for. Ditto.

As for health and recreational facilities, KL Shangri-la offers a well-managed fitness centre equipped with aerobic dance studios, aromatherapy, hydro pool,  indoor jacuzzi, massage parlours, reflexology, as well as sauna and steam rooms. For outdoor activities, the hotel has a number of tennis courts which can be utilised day and night. The swimming pool is rather small and downright unappealing. If the rest of the hotel was to be stripped out entirely, one could never tell that the swimming pool is within the compound a famed Shangri-la establishment. There is a section for circular whirl pools but they should barely carry any weight in my perception of the swimming pool at this five-star hotel.

However disappointing it was, I strongly recommend the guests to check out the view from the swimming pool in late evening and at night. I thought the evening view of of the city centre was spectacular as the neon lights started to glitter against the dark sky. From a section from the pool, you will be able to see the famous KL Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur) in its glorious lights, while the view of the Petronas Twin Towers was truly mesmerizing. Don't miss it.

At the spacious hotel lobby, a number of contemporary restaurants and bars can be found. The lobby itself, from my observation, is somewhat ordinary with too many things being put at once. In fact, during my visit, the centre stage of the lobby was filled with fresh flower arrangements in conjunction with the ongoing Floral Fest 2007, and honestly, they were too cluttered to my liking. The check-in and concierge counters are minimally done, which is a good thing (whew, finally!).

The reception area opens out to the sprawling Lobby Lounge which is probably one of the most stunning sections of the hotel. The spacious Lobby Lounge commands a view of the fantastic tropical garden while the patrons sip down an afternoon cup of tea with light snacks. Adjacent to the Lobby Lounge is the trendy Cinnamon coffee bar where simple beverages and pastries are served. The design of Cinnamon coffee bar is refreshing and bright, much to my approval. Next to it is the main dining outlet called Lemon Garden Café which serves international and local cuisines in an open-kitchen concept. Hands down, this restaurant is the best-looking dining outlet that I have ever seen, with modern interior design and remarkable fitting along with bold usage of colours that really blend well together.

I am still with the hotel lobby. At a rather isolated section from the main reception area lies the fabled Lafite Restaurant. The mere mention of this French-themed restaurant will strike a definite apprehension to your bank account. A plate of scrumptious duck liver in Lafite Restaurant will probably cost more than one can chew but this outlet truly portrays an ultimate dining experience with a cozy setting and delectable choice of vintage wines. At a far corner of the hotel lobby lies Lemon Garden 2Go which is a tastefully decorated delicatessen offering freshly-made desserts, luscious cakes, fresh sandwiches, flavourful salads, exquisite chocolates and baked pastries.

No, I haven't done yet with the F&B outlets. One floor up from the lobby are two more fabulous restaurants. The Shang Palace is a Shangri-la's signature eatery that serves fine Chinese cuisines of mainly Cantonese origin. Its main entrance is designed in such a way to accentuate an ancient Chinese fortified gate with lion figurines as the guardian. To ensure the authenticity of the Cantonese meal selections, imported master chefs from Hong Kong are brought in. Finally, adjacent to the Shang Palace lies a Japanese restaurant called Zipangu. The restaurant is done in a contemporary design as opposed to a traditional Japanese dining interior commonly seen everywhere else. In fact, Zipangu emulates a modern 'Tokyo style' café which hosts a cigar lounge, wine and sake cellar, and sushi counters in private and semi-private dining zones.

The last but not least, I wish to mention about the special feature of this hotel. Indeed, the Shangri-la brand is known for its immaculate tropical landscaping. In fact, my previous stays in Shangri-la Putrajaya and Shangri-la Tanjung Aru can safely lay testament to that. KL Shangri-la is no exception and I was entirely impressed with the featured tropical garden which is accessible from the lobby. Sky-reaching tropical trees intertwined with low-lying shrubs are grown and manicured inside the garden. Added to that are soothing water fountains and koi ponds which makes the area a true urban oasis. There is also a separate section inside the hotel courtyard which features a maze garden which is also beautifully manicured.

A rather long article for KL Shangri-la, eh?

REVIEWED ON:
February 2007

MY VERDICT:
Utterly unappealing swimming pool and room design. The fabulous selections of restaurant and bar as well as the beautiful landscaping have truly saved this hotel from further disappointment.

MY RATING:

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