Destination • September 2015
Kuala Lumpur (KL) continues to surprise visitors, with its latest crop of conversation-starting bars, fashion stores and restaurants. KL resident and man in the know, Mark Lean offers not only high-end but also budget ways to experience the city
Splash the cash: Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (above) has expansive rooms (doubles from £110 per night) and an equally sweeping city skyline. There are minimalist interiors and an emphasis on tech. Showers, for instance, are enclosed in a liquid crystal glass cube that turns opaque with the flick of a switch for added privacy.
Stick to the budget: Next door to funky jazz bar No Black Tie, The Mesui Hotel has circular windows and funky 1970’s design as well as being good value (from £27 per night). It’s at the centre of the city’s party district, Changkat Bukit Bintang.
Splash the cash: Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous KL restaurant is one of 32 in the world that embody the chef’s culinary spirit and penchant for sleek interiors. Besides the food, come for the floor-to-ceiling views of the Petronas Twin Towers.
Stick to the budget: Bali-based Australian chef Will Meyrick has expanded his hip, easy-dining, Asian-style chain – Mama San – with an opening in KL. Expect the unexpected with dishes such as red-curry barbecue duck, washed down with Asian-influenced cocktails like pineapple and kaffir lime margaritas.
Splash the cash: On weekends, KL’s beautiful people head to Claret, the chic wine bar atop The Troika, a skyscraper designed by Foster + Partners. Here you’ll find fashion and high-powered corporate types nursing post-dinner cocktails on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Stick to the budget: Adding frisson to the bar scene is pop-up establishment 44 at The Row. According to insiders it will be at its current spot until December. Enjoy American craft spirits, including rye whiskey and moonshine, along with gin, tequila and cocktails (above) in environs reminiscent of a modern-day speakeasy under renovation.
Splash the cash: Designer store M at Pavilion (above) carries more than 50 tastefully edited lines from less mainstream brands such as Clover Canyon, Elizabeth and James, AQAQ and Sportmax Code. The luxuriously appointed space is where the city’s tastemakers flock to each season for looks that whisper style minus the ostentation.
Stick to the budget: If it’s colours you seek, local batik label Pink Jambu and its resort collections will surely get you noticed at the pool.
Splash the cash: At The Majestic Spa (above) sample the deliciously named English Afternoon Tea treatment encompassing a blackberries and cream scrub, a garden berries massage, and capped with a classic English rose facial. Or, try the deeply calming Queen Victoria Lavender treatment.
Stick to the budget: At the Kenko Reflexology and Spa, tiny fishes work hard to gently exfoliate feet. With tired shoppers in mind, the spa has two locations in the city’s busiest malls – Mid Valley Megamall and Pavilion KL.
British Airways flies a daily service to KL from Heathrow Terminal 5
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