WHAT’S IT LIKE?
In a city that’s burgeoning with five-star hotels, the Istana is a stalwart. Despite the undeniable modernity of the place, when I walked into the lobby I got a distinct impression of what one would expect of a luxury hotel in a bygone era. Lots of inlaid marble and lush potted foliage, and a massive reception desk manned by über-friendly hotel staff. Nothing boutique-y about this place; it’s an unapologetically big hotel that gets brought down to guest-friendly dimensions by legendary Malaysian hospitality.