Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia is a rapidly developing country in South-East Asia, bordered by Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. The addition of Malaysian Airways to the OneWorld alliance introduced a new stopover on the Kangaroo route. Kuala Lumpur is a modern high-rise metropolis, similar to Singapore. The city is safe and clean, although we would recommend a stay of only 3 nights here as there is not a lot to do unless you love shopping. Once out of KL, transport is easy with the wide, fast North-South Expressway running from the Thai border to Singapore, budget flights and cheap trains. We recommend a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Georgetown on Penang, a trip to see the orangutans on Kota Kinabalu, scuba diving off the Eastern coast or a beach holiday on Langkawi.
The Grand Hyatt is situated on one side of Kuala Lumpur City Park, near the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel has great views of the Petronas Towers, only bettered by Traders (as far as we could tell). Although the hotel was only 4 months old when we first stayed, we have had no glitches with either our first or subsequent stays - neither service nor hardware problems.
Grand Deluxe King
The next room type which offers a different room, rather than just a different view, is the Grand Deluxe room. At 65 square metres this room would be considered a suite in many hotels, and is larger than a similar room type at the Mandarin Oriental (48 square metres for an executive room) and the same size as the Ritz Carlton's entry level suite.
Again, the room is spacious and offers a separate bath and shower in a wet-room style enclosure. However, the bathroom feels more separate from the room than in a standard room, thus the room may be better for those who are less comfortable with their travelling companion. It seems strange that the hotel doesn't offer a deluxe twin, as this would seem to be a good room for friends sharing, rather than the Grand Twin.
A nice feature for female travellers is the vanity area in the bathroom, offering a great area for doing make-up, with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. We also liked the design of the room so that you could enter the bathroom either from the entrance hall or from the bedroom area.
Although most people are not in the situation to book the Presidential Suite, it is always interesting to have a look! In keeping with the size of the other rooms in the hotel, the Presidential Suite is huge at 340 square metres and would be perfect for anyone with multiple meetings or a lot of entertaining to do. The main lounge area offers seating for 10-15 people and there is a separate smaller seating area outside the office. We found the bedroom surprisingly small and a little underwhelming, although the twin dressing rooms were great. The bathroom is amazing with twin shower, large bath and plenty of room - in fact the bathroom is larger than most rooms and some suites! The suite also offers a dining area and kitchenette.
We found the Presidential Suite too big for a couple or single person to enjoy, but it would be perfect for high-level delegations or press launches. Alternatively, the lounge area would be a great location for a cocktail reception. Although smaller, we preferred the Presidential Suite in Singapore, although the two suites have different uses.
The views from the Club Lounge are stunning, as you can see from our photos on the right. Watching the daylight drop and the city lights come on whilst sipping a cool glass of prosecco, sauvignon blanc or one of the other 4 wines on offer was a great way to relax at the end of the day. There was plenty of food on offer to make a meal, with a variety of salads, bread and cheese each night, as well as cold cuts, sandwiches and smoked salmon. Each night there were 2-3 hot canapés brought out, such as mini beef burgers, chicken lasagne or cod en croute. The lounge also offered 4 desserts each day, as well as stewed and fresh fruit.
Breakfast in the morning offered continental fare, eggs to order or Malaysian specialities. We enjoyed the traditional breakfast of chicken rendang with nasi lemak (rice with coconut, nuts and spices), served in a banana leaf. On our most recent stay, during the Do, diamond members could choose to have breakfast in the main restaurant instead of the club lounge - this offers a vast spread and it a great treat if you have time to indulge.
The service in the lounge was excellent and the food quality high. This is one of our favourite lounges in Asia, almost on a par with the Grand Club in the Hyatt Erawan Bangkok.
The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur has a great gym with complimentary water and towels. Staff are also on hand to pass you a chilled wet towel. A wide range of resistance machines are available, as well as Technogym cardio-equipment complete with individual TVs.
Separate male and female changing areas offer a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and relaxation lounge. Outside is a large free-form 25 metre swimming pool maintained at 28 C, surrounded by loungers and relaxing cabana-style beds for couples, friends or family. During our visit to the gym, changing areas and swimming pool, we didn't see another person, so these areas are a real benefit for leisure travellers.
Essa spa is an understated space with 11 treatment rooms, each with a changing area and shower. We saw a treatment room for couples, which also had a deep soaking tub. All treatments start with a foot wash before continuing with the booked treatment. A 1 hour massage is around £60/$100 with 90 minutes costing £80/$130. Although the public areas of the spa are good, the treatment rooms are a little underwhelming.
One of the first things we noticed about the rooms at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur was their size, with the base room starting at a generous 47 square metres (larger than offered by the Ritz Carlton or the Mandarin Oriental). These rooms feel larger than those measurements with a clever use of space and, surprisingly for a standard room, include a walk-in wardrobe.
The bathroom can be either open or closed and the shower cubicles have a unique LCG glass wall, so at the touch of a button you can shower in private or with a view of the city. The bathroom also offers a bath and a separate enclosed toilet. The living area is spacious with a decent desk and a circular chair which is found in all rooms. Although these may not look comfortable, we found they were a great place to snuggle up - there is plenty of room for two people to sit side by side.
The room feels modern and airy - a fantastic entry level room. Club rooms are identical but guests receive club access.
Grand Suite King
We stayed in a Grand Suite King, after using a diamond suite upgrade certificate to upgrade our standard room. These corner suites are again large for entry level suites at 105 square metres and reminded us of the suites in Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi.
On entering the suite, there is a large desk with plentiful sockets nearby (British style 3 pin plugs) and the spacious living area with seating for 4-5 people. There would be plenty of room for a roll-away bed in here and, with the guest powder room, the suite is ideal for friends or family groups. The bedroom is similar to the Grand King room. Our favourite part of the suite is the bathroom with twin sinks, large shower and beautiful bath with a view of the Petronas Towers - despite the size of the tub it was quick to fill and we had no problems with water supply. The bathroom also offered a walk-in wardrobe and separately enclosed toilet.
Our diamond welcome amenity was a selection of fruit including many local varieties and a bottle of wine. In the suite was a complementary selection of snacks in glass jars - nuts, cookies and mini Toblerone. We were pleased that dark chocolate buttons were delivered from the kitchen when we explained we couldn't eat the cookies or chocolates provided.
Royal suite (not for sale)
We were honoured to be shown the Royal Suite, which was designed for the Sultan of Brunei, whose investment fund owns the hotel. This is accessed by a special lift and the entire floor has a different design. We found the decor very elegant and tasteful, even understated but still majestic.
The suite consists of large meeting and entertaining areas (including a fantastic majlis-style entertainment space), a small but well-equipped fitness room, study, kitchen, 1 bedroom and bathroom. Other suites on the same floor are available for the Sultana and the Sultan's personal staff. In addition, the floor below is designed to offer quick access to the Royal floor, and is ideal for security staff.
The Royal Suite is the same size as the Presidential Suite, but we preferred the style and layout, although the bathroom of the Presidential Suite is superior in our opinion. The Royal Suite is not for sale; rather it is kept for either the Sultan of Brunei or other visiting heads of state (at the permission of The Sultan).
We were delighted to be invited to lunch at JP Teres, the hotel's Malaysian restaurant. Here, we shared 4 snacks between 3 of us, and there was plenty of food to go round. The otak otak (spicy fish cooked in a banana leaf) was tender, moist and delicious. We also enjoyed rojak buah, which was a spicy fruit and vegetable salad - both sweet and sour, although a little strongly flavoured for our taste. The popiah fresh spring roll with prawn and vegetables was a light delicate dish and our last dish was the traditional lamb and chicken satay. Each dish tasted very different and the quality was very high. We were very surprised later when we saw that each dish was only around £3/$5 - great value for a hotel restaurant.
One evening we ordered room service to try the desserts we had seen in JP Teres. The pandan chiffon cake was light, sweet and fragrant whilst the mango and sticky rice was delicious as always.
Also in house is the Thirty8 with live show kitchens offering sushi, steaks and seafood, and Poolside, which serves local and international favourites.
Meetings and Events
The hotel has a wide variety of meeting and event spaces including 2 very blingy ballrooms, one of which it is possible to drive a car into! How long till it is used for a new car model launch party in this car-mad country? The Grand Ballroom (option to split into 3) on the ground floor is large enough to host 700 for dinner on round tables and the Grand Salon (possible to split into 2 rooms) above large enough for 450 people.
As usual, our favourite meeting space was the residence, which offers 2 smaller meeting rooms for 20 and 2 larger rooms for 60. Each meeting room provides a formal seated area as well as a lounge area for 10-15 people. Outside of these meeting spaces are 2 show kitchens with seating for 20 and breakout lounge areas. The Grand Residence would be an ideal location for corporate meetings or informal events, such as a cocktail reception with freshly made canapés cooked live in the show kitchens.
The hotel offers a range of wedding packages including a night for the Bride and Groom and their parents, and a dining or spa gift on the first anniversary.
The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is the first luxury hotel to open in KL for many years, and has one of the best views in the city. Throughout our stay, staff were friendly and service was good, although at times staff were trying just a bit too hard. Although there have been some negative comments about having to use 2 lifts to leave or enter the hotel, we liked the increased security this feature offers. Rooms are well designed and generous in size - our only negative comment would be that the safe was a little small in our suite, considering we had 2 laptops, a tablet computer and important documents to lock away. The club lounge had great service (thanks Didi) and a good selection of food and drink for breakfast and in the evening. Food in JP Teres and through room service was excellent and good value. In all, we strongly recommend staying in the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur - the view may not be quite as good as Traders offers but the hotel is vastly superior. Visit the Sky Bar at Traders for a glass of Champagne to admire the view and book a stay in Villa Samadhi to relax or recover from jet lag.