Hilton fans in Singapore will definitely be familiar with Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Located adjacent to KL’s main transport node KL Sentral, the hotel is a well-appointed property suited for both business and leisure needs.
Located conveniently at KL Sentral, Hilton Kuala Lumpur is literally next door to the train station and offers more than 500 rooms in its giant 35-storey building. The hotel also has 14 meeting rooms capable of holding business events for up to 1,500 people.
While the hotel opened its doors back in 2004, it was last refurbished in 2013. At first glance, the hotel still looks pretty swanky to the extent of being a little glitzy; a big welcoming lobby, tall ceilings and a modern-looking cafe and bar at the lobby adds to the glamour of the property.
The hotel is part of a joint development with Le Meridien hotel located next door, which has been owned by Japanese billionaire Katsumi Tada since it opened its doors in 2004. Just a couple of years back in 2017, Tada has sold the hotel to the owners of Le Meridien next door, Daito Trust Construction Co, another Japanese entity.
I tried checking in early at about 11.30am. Hilton KL is pretty good with its upgrades for elite members. As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I originally booked myself into a Deluxe room, but I saw in my Hilton app that I was given an Executive Plus room.
As I checked in way too early, the front desk offered me a choice of either an Executive standard room if I wanted the room now, or a Executive Plus room if I could come back later in the afternoon. I chose the latter as I wanted to head out for lunch.
One thing to note if you are a diamond member, the priority check-in desk for Hilton Honors members is not located at the same place as the check-in desks. There is a small little signage just before you hit the desks that will point you to the right direction. If you need help, just ask the concierge and they will be happy to point you in the right direction.
I originally booked myself into the cheapest room type, but as a Diamond member I was upgraded to an Executive Plus room, which was one of the corner rooms on each floor.
While the room was not a junior suite, it boasted of a very generously sized bedroom, as well as an equally generous bathroom. The room comfortably fitted a King sized bed, as well as a couch right by the window which served us well as a daybed.
There was also a full sized work desk if working in the room is what you need.
The bathroom had a generous bath tub, big enough for two people. As with all other Hilton properties, there are separate shower and toilet stalls, each with their own door. There was only a single vanity however, but this is often not an issue for me.
The amenities Hilton Kuala Lumpur uses is Crabtree and Evelyn, consistent with the other Hilton brands in this part of the world.
One interesting offering by Hilton KL is a bath preparation service, with a complete menu of different scented baths that staff can prepare for you for RM58 nett. There are four options to choose from, including a jetsetter’s Boost Bath, which is a “refreshing blend of tangerine and lemongrass to sooth, relieve and revitalise the body.”
For couples on a getaway, there’s also a “Pure Romance Bath” for RM180 nett, which comes with two glasses of sparkling wine, not too bad a deal considering that a glass of wine costs at least RM50 in a hotel.
It might sound rather extravagant, but I can see how this is useful for couples on a romantic getaway, or even perhaps for parents who will want to delight their kids.
If you want something even more luxurious, there’s always an in-room massage service offered by the hotel’s spa, but I was shocked at the price tag which was something to the tune of over RM400 for an hour of bliss.
The room also comes with a Nespresso machine, as well as four bottles of complimentary bottled water. I am quite a water guzzler, so the first thing when I got to the room was to request for even more bottled water, which the hotel gladly acceded to.
As with most hotels there’s also a fully stocked in-room mini bar right under the counter, which will be replenished daily and charged to your account if you consume any of it (you shouldn’t).
The only downside to the corner room is the fact that the room is not completely blacked out in the morning. The doors to the bathroom are a pair of translucent sliding doors facing the bed, and there are no curtains within the bathroom. Go figure.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s executive lounge is located on the 33rd floor. All guests staying in executive rooms and suites, as well as Hilton Honors Diamond members can access the lounge during their stay.
The lounge is open from 6am to 11pm daily, and serves up daily breakfast, as well as afternoon tea and evening cocktails.
The lounge runs on two sides of the corridor, a bigger lounge on the right side where the food and drinks are located, and a smaller lounge on the left side with the reception desk. Both rooms feature high ceilings and full length windows offering a view of the city.
I managed to check out the afternoon tea (2.30pm to 4.30pm) shortly after returning to the hotel and getting my keys. Hilton KL’s afternoon tea serves an assortment of light savoury and sweet bites, along with coffee, tea and soft drinks. The bites of the day included tempeh sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, beef wraps and scones.
The sandwiches were delicious and right sized so despite being full from lunch, I went back for seconds. I was rather suspicious of the scones at first, but they turned out tasting better than they looked.
Evening cocktails ran from 6pm to 8pm. I tend to go up and find a choice spot just before evening cocktails begin, and even when I got there at 5.45pm, about half the lounge was already occupied. Right at 6pm, more people came in and practically every single table was taken up.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur offers a good spread of hot and cold foods during the evening cocktail hours. There were some interesting bites, such as a savoury profiteroles with mackerel mousse, and also a rather amazing pasta seafood salad with generous servings of mussels. The sweets were slightly less appealing although there was still a rather good assortment.
A worthy mention here will be the level of service offered at the lounge, despite the crowd. Team members went table to table taking drink orders and served them rather promptly. The staff was also very proactive in going around the tables to top up wines during the two-hour window, and offering incredibly generous pours.
What I didn’t like about the lounge was the fact that large families could bring young children into the lounge. A kid was screaming and running around the lounge for the good part of an hour, which I thought was a safety hazard. Personally I would very much prefer if Hilton could run their lounge like some other hotels where children were not allowed into the lounge during even cocktail hours.
Breakfast at Vasco’s
As a diamond member, I could choose to have my breakfast either at the main restaurant Vasco’s in the lobby, or at the executive lounge. Whenever I’m in Asia, I generally prefer to dine in the main restaurant as the spread tends to be a lot more generous and hearty than what you will get in the lounge.
The downside of having breakfast in the main restaurant is that it usually gets pretty crowded. On a Sunday morning at about 9am, there was a short queue into the restaurant, although I didn’t have to wait for long. With ample capacity to hold more than 100 guests, the restaurant was still packed and I didn’t get much choice as to where I wanted to sit.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur serves up a solid breakfast buffet. Apart from the usual American breakfast offerings, there was also a substantial Asian selection, including local breakfast choices of nasi lemak and roti canai, as well as Japanese and Indian fares. Each of these sections is a selection from one of the hotel’s wide range of restaurants, so I figure it’s also good marketing for each of these restaurants.
My choice of breakfast in Malysian hotels is always nasi lemak, and Hilton’s rendition didn’t fail to deliver. The curry chicken complements the fragrant steamed coconut rice, with the sambal chilli hitting all the right spots as well.
Oh, and if you are into noodles, don’t forget to try the curry noodles from the noodle station!
If there’s one thing I’d complain about, it’s probably the coffee. Not worth wasting your caffeine consumption on it.
For those who don’t have breakfast included in your room rate or as part of your Hilton Honors perks, the walk-in rate for breakfast is RM88 nett per person, so it pays to book a room with breakfast if hotel breakfast is your thing.
Outside breakfast hours, Vasco’s serve as an international buffet restaurant for lunch and dinner, with themes from month to month. If you fancy something else, there are four other restaurants on-site for you to choose from: Chambers Grill for your grill favourites, GRAZE which serves modern European cuisine, Chynna dishing out Cantonese favourites and Iketeru, a Japanese restaurant.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur is a full service hotel, complete with an array of facilities for any visit.
On the recreational front, the hotel boasts of a massive gym with a good range of equipment. Apart from the usual cardio machines, the gym is well invested, with a squat rack and also a good range of free weights for serious trainers. Within a gym also lies a group exercise room, complete with scheduled gym classes every day of the week.
Note that the gym and spa serves both Hilton and the adjacent Le Meridien hotel, so it can get rather crowded. The gym also offers public memberships for non-hotel guests.
Apart from the gym there’s also a full spa service, including in-room massage services if you are too lazy to even walk down to the spa. The spa shares the same changing rooms with the gym, and is fully equipped with a sauna, hot tub and steam room for those who like a good soak after their workout.
Outside the gym, there’s also a picturesque swimming pool and a pool bar. The swimming pool is not ideal for serious swimmers, but good enough for a lap or two or if you want to get some sun.
For event organisers looking to hold events at Hilton KL, this is probably one of the best options you can find in town. There are 14 meeting rooms in varying configurations, capable of holding up to 1,500 people.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly one of my most favourite hotels in the city, for good reasons. An excellent five star hotel, armed with a wide range of excellent facilities, dining options and an incredibly convenient location, the property is usually my first choice in the city and it takes a lot of consideration for me to stay anywhere else.
While some may content that the service is not as personalised as what you’d get at higher end hotels such as St Regis, I contend that this is sufficient for me. I typically get a little suffocated with overly attentive service, so this works just fine for me.
If there’s anything I might pick on, it’s probably just that the hotel is starting to show signs of age. Fading furnishing, tired looking facilities, but these are really minor details. After all, a good hotel is a balance of service and hardware, and as far as Hilton Kuala Lumpur is concerned, it’s pretty much there.
Hilton is definitely increasing its footprint in Kuala Lumpur, with a leap in the number of properties in the last few years. Just in the last two years alone, Hilton chose KL as the city for its first three Hilton Garden Inn properties in Malaysia: two in Chow Kit and one in Puchong. Just a little further down south, Hilton’s DoubleTree will also open its doors in Putrajaya later this year.
In the pipeline is also Canopy and Conrad KL, which I’ll definitely be looking forward to check out when they open over the next few years.