Most of you must already know– because let’s face it, I’ve been screaming it through a virtual megaphone–I just got back from a foodie vacation/foodcation to Malaysia. It wasn’t some cross-country adventure that foodie dreams are made of, but it was pretty close–enough to pacify me until my next trip– and yes, there will be many more trips to Malaysia, because this wasn’t my first time there and from the looks of how much M and I love it there, it hopefully won’t be the last.
Oh what a refreshing treat it was to see cloudy skies and experience a cool breeze as soon as we landed!
As I mentioned in my Malaysian Hotels post, my appetite to try new things is insatiable, and that extends to hotels as well. I therefore divided my time amongst various hotels, the first of which was DoubleTree by Hilton. Doubletree by Hilton were kind enough to welcome me and host me during a trip that I planned on documenting in excruciating detail, and in retrospect I am so, SO glad that I chose to start my hotel hopping by staying with them first. After a long Economy Class fight from Dubai to Malaysia via Qatar, the last thing one wants is a disappointing hotel, and luckily Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lampur was anything but.
Regular rains in the Far East make the greenery so much greener. I always LOVE the drive from the airport to the hotel whenever I go to Singapore or Malaysia; greenery ushers you from both sides of the road.
We landed in KL around 10am , and I was told by the hotel that my room won’t be ready till 3pm, so we giddily booked our cab from the airport to Sunway instead, where my sister, cousin and pretty much all our friends live. After a delicious lunch of Thai food at Mr.Tuk Tuk in Sunway Pyramid Mall –and excited trips down the many memory lanes we have etched across there– we finally headed to the hotel.
The entrance to Sunway Lagoonview Condominium: where my sister lives and where I have many a cherished memories.
When we got to the hotel in Jalan Tun Razak (it took 15-20 mins by Grabcar from Sunway, and cost about 21 rm), at first I thought we’re at the wrong place, because the building in which DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lampur resides doesn’t look like very much like a hotel from the outside, nor does it clearly read it’s name. A big bold “The Intermark” is what you’ll see, but that’s because the hotel is sharing it’s property with said office building. It’s not until you take the escalator to the first floor that you actually reach the hotel, and it’s almost impossible to tell the two apart.
It wasn’t hard to find my way though, and was warmly welcomed at the reception with warm chocolate chip cookies while I waited to fill out my paperwork, which I later learnt is aimed at promoting their brand message/slogan that reads “caring is creating a rewarding experience”. Blimey, giving me a cookie is caring AND rewarding, I was sold already! Out with the welcome drinks, I say, in with these cookies!
As soon as the check-in desk realized that I was booked in for a club room though, I was ushered up to the 34th floor to the executive lounge, so be checked-in there instead. The result? Instantly breathtaking views of mountains on one side and a partial view of Suria KLCC on the other, that put an ear-to-ear smile on my face and think to myself how so incredibly good it is to be back in the Far East. We were offered an array of beverages, teas, coffees and a buffet of food to feast on while our paperwork was processed (standard perks of club lounges), but we were still stuffed from lunch so passed on all but some sparkling water.
The executive lounge
View from the Executive lounge
A smooth check-in later, we went down to the 26th floor, where we had a corner suite and more of those breathtaking views of the cityscape with lush green mountains in the horizon dusted with tiny red roofs– such a far cry from the desert view we have from our apartment in Dubai! A vibrant fruit basket, colorful platter of macarons and sweets along with a heartwarming welcome note informing me of the TWG tea I could expect during my stay awaited me on the coffee table; but the message that really came through was that these guys had been reading my blog, and that’s always something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside 🙂 Too bad I had pigged out at the mall earlier, otherwise this pile of welcome treats are an exhausted travelers dream come true.
The very first thing I look for when I enter a hotel room (and I hold my breath till then), is whether the bed linen is white on white, or whether the bed has those awful, guaranteed unhygienic cushions and bed runner that I just KNOW aren’t washed in between guests. Praise the lord and pat the hotel on their back, for making this a case of the former. You also get a pillow menu, to ensure a very comfortable sleep tailored to your preferences.
The bathroom was nice and clean too, as were the towels, but I did find it odd how there was no loofah or bubble bath. Upon checking with the management, I received confirmation that those aren’t offered to guests here; so you might want to pack those with you if you are to stay here. Thank God they had a shower bidet though, which- frankly- I don’t even understand how some hotels skip out on.
What made this suite very homey and one you could comfortably stay in for extended trips as well, was that there was a separate couch and desk in the bedroom, and a separate couch, coffee table and desk outside in the living room; and the well-stocked minibar ensures you have beverages at your disposal too!
As comfortable as it was in our suite though, we were ready to hit the town again, so after a quick freshening up, we headed to Subang and ate our hearts out at Asia Cafe, followed by dessert at Cafe Aboong, and then we played board games at Meeples till midnight with M’s best friend who had also flown in to Malaysia at the same time, just to meet us. I’m pretty sure we had a couple of bubble teas in between as well, but who’s counting right?
After warm showers and a good night’s sleep, we were up at 6:30 am the following day and while we could have had a warm and delicious breakfast in the Executive Lounge upstairs, we decided to hit the town instead and walked to KLCC instead. I enjoyed the brief walk so very much and realized the beauty in so many random things that only a tourist can. Every green, imperfect, but oh so real nook and cranny of every alley was making me fall more and more in love with the city.
On our walk to Suria KLCC from Doubletree by Hilton
We had breakfast a breakfast of Nasi Lemak and Kaya butter toasts with Kopi and Teh Ice at the KLCC food court, and then walked it off as we hiked to Pavilion Mall on foot via the super safe, CCTV monitored, partially underground and partially above ground canopy connecting bridge. Everything is so close to each other, it’s hard to stay put! S0me more exploring and stuffing our faces ensued, and then we took a Grabcar back to Doubletree By Hilton Kuala Lampur where I was scheduled to get a guided tour by the very sweet Eliza, while M went to pray Jummah.
Over the next half an hour or so, I saw the many well-equipped conference rooms, enormous ballroom, the salt-water pool, the state-the-art gym, and the five F&B outlets the hotel boasts. I absolutely fell in love with the “stress cookies” given to the attendees of any corporate events/conferences held at DoubleTree By Hilton Kuala Lampur, and I kind of wish they were given to all guests!
A squeezy stress cookie? Promise me one of these and I’ll be the happiest camper at a corporate event!
Salt water pool at Doubletree by Hilton KL, a rare luxury that’s good for the skin and hair.
This was the gym at Doubletree By Hilton. I don’t know what it’s used for, because I’ve never stepped in one.
Toscana, the beautiful poolside Italian restaurant.
A fully equipped coffee station for the attendees of corporate events to help themselves to!
Makan, the hotel’s Malaysian restaurant and pride and joy. I will forever regret not eating here despite being invited to do so. Time just flew by.
The view from Makan
The hotel had so much to offer, but we headed out again in the evening, to spend more time with friends and family. The next morning we checked out early to get a head start on the day, but before I left, I skimmed through the breakfast buffet in the Executive lounge and helped myself to an Onde Onde. This is a sweet green, pandan flavored ball made with sweet potato and glutenous rice flour. It’s stuffed with Gula Melaka (sort of like molases), and rolled in coconut flakes. As soon as I saw this I knew this one’s for me, but being the novice I am in Malaysian sweets, I didn’t realize that these bad boys are meant to be eaten in one go. Like a totally unaware tourist, I bit into it, which resulted in the projectile squirting on the Gula Melaka across the otherwise varnished wooden floor. Let’s be objectively honest, it was quite hilarious. Not for the poor guy who had to clean the floor of course, nor for me (the subject of the embarrassment), but everyone else must have been laughing at me on the inside and if I’m completely honest, so was I.
Platter of Malaysian sweets for breakfast. The Onde Onde are all gone, I had the last one.
If you had the patience to read through this entire blog post, you’ll have gathered by now what a pleasant and memorable stay I had at the DoubleTree By Hilton Kuala Lampur. If I didn’t bore you to death, stay tuned for more posts that will hopefully help you plan your trip(s) to Malaysia and make the most out of them. Thank you so much, team Doubletree, for having us, and for playing a pivotal role in a very memorable trip. Until next time 🙂