Since 1997, the Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur has been catering to the individuals who yearn for luxury, comfort and an experience that lets them have all the comforts of home… with a few extras. With 365 guest rooms, including 30 One-Bedroom Suites and 25 meeting rooms totaling 30,000 square feet, and a new wing under construction, it promised to be quite an adventure in luxury.
Our journey began with an airport pickup from KLIA 2 where we were picked up and driven to the hotel in the heart of the city. Our check-in was speedy at the hotel’s chic lobby that’s ripe with old world charm and paintings of Venice and its countryside adorning the wooden paneling. The Ritz Carlton, situated snugly between the Westin and the famous Starhill Gallery (mall to the elite), is connected to its sister YTL branded hotel, the J W Marriott. It is well positioned for access to the business districts as well as for shopping, be it the up-market brands from Starhill to the more affordable bargain style options found in nearby Berjaya Time Square, a short 6-8 minute walk away.
We were upgraded to the Ritz Carlton Residence Suites that are in the adjoining building. Unfortunately the hotel was undergoing renovations at the time of writing this, so the very minor inconvenience of having to walk around the structures from one building to the other (till the connecting corridors are completed), or up a floor and then down and around the next was quickly put to rest once we stepped into our large and spacious living quarters on the 25th floor. And by the way, we did get a sneak preview of the new rooms that will be unveiled soon, and we can share some details with you, so read on…
This two-bedroom suite occupies about 1900 sq ft with a lush beige carpet that is super soft and made walking around such a comfort. The living room/dining room was equipped with a modest array of furniture that was both uber comfortable as well as rather old-school in styling. Let’s call it old-school minimalistic. Large French windows with green grills provide enough sunlight to highlight the gold, beige, brown and white tapestry the rooms has been designed with; representative of the elegance the Ritz Carlton has been associated with. A tasteful three piece red and gold Chinese scripture painting adorned the wall of the dining area and added some color to the room. Although the view from the suite overlooked a vast expanse of the city with its looming skyscrapers, vast highways and flyovers and shopping areas like Berjaya Time Square, there is quite a bit of construction underway in this area that slightly disrupts the view to a small extent.
The kitchen was well stocked with all the amenities you’d require to make yourself at home with a large two door fridge, dishwasher, microwave oven, stove, chimney, toaster, cutlery et al. A store room and an additional bathroom also fitted into this area.
Our favorite place was the study, located half way through the corridor leading to the master and secondary bedrooms. It’s designed perfectly to provide you with privacy when required (sliding wooden doors to minimize space) a comfy chair with matching leg rest, a reading lamp, work desk with a phone, showcase with some eclectic porcelain statuettes and a connecting door to the secondary rooms’ attached bath. Being voracious readers, this little niche became our little haven for peace and quiet for the duration.
The master bedroom and bath were both spacious and tastefully designed with plenty of room to move around and a view of the surrounding streets and cityscape facing the Square. Bedroom furniture was also minimal but relevant and the décor was simple and tasteful with a large walk-in closet space that had a vanity mirror and seat. Although we never used it, the secondary bedroom was fitted with two single beds and large wardrobe with another Samsung HD TV. We particularly liked the idea of a thermostat in all the rooms.
The master bathroom was spacious as it was elegant in its chic marble setting. The separated toilet and bidet adjoins the closed-door shower section that faces the double sinks. The bathtub is large and comfortably designed, meaning it didn’t require too much of an effort getting in or out thanks to the provisioned handles for support. The secondary bathroom was smaller with a single sink and an enclosed shower area. What was perhaps a bit of a letdown was the choice of Asprey toiletries, which, while well stocked, didn’t quite seem in keeping with the overall elegant motif. Things like combs needed to be called for while the quality of the shaving kit could have been better.
One of the things we found lacking in the Residence Suite was that it was devoid of any ‘upbeat’ technology. By that we refer to things like a sound dock perhaps for iPads or iPhones. Other than the HDTVs and Panasonic DVD/CD players (who travels with CDs anymore?), it was a little too low tech in our opinion. What was even more of a surprise was the rather sparse distribution of usable power outlets to charge our devices. At least high-speed wireless internet was complimentary.
One of the key elements that the Ritz Carlton, KL boats of, like some of the other properties in the chain, is their Butler service that isn’t merely for those who opt to stay in the residences or larger suites; each and every floor of the hotel employs a Butler. At the press of a button on the phone, your every wish is their command, even if it’s something as rudimentary as asking someone to iron your clothes or pick up a few things from the nearby 7/11. Don’t expect a super speedy response via this service however, as it can sometimes be a bit of a wait till a ‘Butler’ actually shows up.
The hotel also has a very kid friendly initiative called Ritz Kids which lets parents take a much needed break and indulge their children’s creativity with a variety of activities.
The Spa Village, located on the 4th floor, has its own private swimming pool for those residing in the Residence suites and is a perfect spot to unwind and relax with some very traditional therapies and treatments designed to relax the body and calm the mind. The hotel pool is also located at a lower section but accessible via the spa area as well. We liked the fact that the seating area and pool itself were between the floors providing ample shade. We didn’t quite get the opportunity to check out the gym, although we should have after the many scrumptious meals, but we’re told it is well equipped.
Food and Drink
For daily breakfast we dined at the fabulous Cesar’s restaurant, located on the 02nd floor. It’s spacious, comfortable with impeccable décor in maroon and purple shades resonating with a sense of royalty. The buffet isn’t perhaps too elaborate, but there was something for everyone, and what you don’t find at the spread, any one of their staff would be more than happy to suggest something from the a la carte menu.
You might also consider dropping by the famous Ritz Carlton Lobby lounge for a little High Tea and chat in the late afternoon. There’s such a graceful charm about this section (situated on the right hand side of the reception area) that combines the soothing, jazzy tones of a grand piano with the daunting aroma of tea and snacks. You can choose from a wide selection (32 varieties) of tea and enjoy a nice quiet evening of conversation and tidbits. We recommend you try the Irish whiskey flavored tea blend that has a husky tone with the hint of whisky delicately balanced with a soothing aroma of Irish cream. Truly a marvelous experience. The fresh salmon sandwiches in soft bread and the delectable desserts sitting atop the snack tray, combined with the live piano playing in the background and a cup of delicious tea makes for a pleasant evening.
And speaking of varieties, if you happen to be staying in KL for longer than a couple of days, we truly recommend you make your way down to the Starhill gallery’s “food court”, which, in essence, is a plethora of restaurants under the YTL brand that cater to pretty much every palette you can think off. You can choose from the selection of 11 themed restaurants making up the eclectic mix of the Gallery’s ‘Indulge’ section on the lower floor. From local to global cuisine it’s all served up in a space that looks like a food fair on the street; a real spectacle of colors and lights highlighting flavors from all over the world. We dined at Shook! which was located here and partook of a few Japanese offerings, sushi style! That was our first meal in KL and what a meal it was!
Our in-room dining experience was truly memorable as we got to share a lovely candle lit four course dinner with family that stopped by. The food, although it took a little while to be sent up, was absolutely delicious. Our four course meal started with an Amouse Bouche and included Pan Fried Cod Fish with vegetable salsa and Lemon dressing, tenderloin steak grilled to perfection, wild mushrooms in Lamelois sauce and finally chef’s special Philadelphia cheesecake that was to die for. Accompanying our meal were glasses of very well picked sparkling white wine that went well with the fish and the steak.
A Sneak Peek
As promised, we did get to view the new rooms that the Ritz Carlton, KL is going to be launching soon. To our surprise, these newer rooms are quite a contrast to what we’d seen throughout the hotel, yet somehow, they seemed to fit right in with the existing format and décor. The newer rooms are far more modern and stylish but still have a suave elegance about them without deviating too far from the hotel’s mainstay motifs. Employing slightly brighter colors and blacks, in newer artistic sense, these new rooms give you the impression that while the chain is still known for its old world charm, it has also managed to modernize without losing its traditions and values that fit into the décor and meet the needs of the new technologically driven generation which include an ample number of well position outlets for charging or connecting devices.
The feeling one gets when you’re at the Ritz Carlton, KL is a sense of class and an understanding that you will be treated not just as a guest in a bgig branded hotel, but more akin to like a guest in a home. Their tagline rightfully says it all – “Let us make you smile” (include in quotes) . From classic charm, to traditional settings that have nonetheless been thoroughly modernized, the Ritz Carlton is an experience you take with you. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out but Wwe can’t wait to see what the new property is going to be like and most certainly wish to return to see just how much of an “upgrade” has been incorporated into this classic hotel.
Note – The Room rate for the Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur 2 Bedroom Residence Suite works out to $982 (MYR 3,500++) plus taxes. We were provided complimentary accommodation and services. But the opinions expressed herein are our own.
Additional inputs by Monica Rana.
168, Jalan Imbi, Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur,
Phone: +60 3-2142 8000