COLO­NIAL CHIC

BAZAAR re­dis­cov­ers the her­itage ho­tel.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Advertisement -

Re­dis­cover an era of glory at The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur

From its cre­ation in 1932 The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur was a leg­end, and in its prime in the ’ 50s was renowned for its aura of class and cul­ti­va­tion. Times changed though, and The Ma­jes­tic did not. 51 years af­ter open­ing, it shut down to be­come the Na­tional Art Gallery. For 15 years the tall lou­vered win­dows brought in plenty of warm trop­i­cal light but again the build­ing suf­fered from chronic un­der­use and grad­ual dis­re­pair. Un­til the vi­sion­ary peo­ple at YTL took over, pol­ished up the old lady, and gave her a fresh tiara and dress. The Ma­jes­tic is back – and is bet­ter than ever.

Sec­onds into the stun­ning atrium of the new main en­trance and by a mir­a­cle of mood­light­ing and sound-proof­ing, the hus­tle and bus­tle of cen­tral Kuala Lumpur is be­hind you. To the left is culi­nary gem Con­tango, on its way to be­com­ing the Sardi’s of the city. The Sun­day buf­fet is a fab­u­lous place to be, with all the colour and vi­brancy of Broad­way and the culi­nary de­lights to match. You’d be hard-pressed to beat it yet the Colo­nial Café comes close. Not only are the Hokkien dishes of the own­ing Yeoh fam­ily on of­fer, there’s a sense of how good life must have been in the old colo­nial days. You may never make it through a Hainanese chicken chop, such is the scope of the dish, but many have at­tested it’s the best they’ve ever eaten. Or dine like a white ra­jah on pre-war favourites: mul­li­gatawny soup, baked crab, and beef wellington, while be­ing en­ter­tained by the live jazz of the So­lianos. It doesn’t get more Eurasian chic than this.

Af­ter­noon Tea here is a re­gal oc­ca­sion by it­self, with tiers of scones, cakes, and cu­cum­ber sand­wiches, and a tome of a tea menu to suit your taste. Book well in ad­vance to snag a ta­ble at the Orchid Con­ser­va­tory, al­ready the most charm­ing room in KL in the un­of­fi­cial BAZAAR din­ing awards.

The bed­rooms are more than fine, though you’d be un­de­cided whether to opt for a suite in the four-storey Colo­nial Wing or the more con­tem­po­rary-styled ones in the Tower Wing. Black wooden floors and high feather - mat­tressed beds and claw-footed baths on tiled floors have un­doubted charm but so do car­pets and chrome and bur­nished ma­hogany and views of the city. Still, the most en­dur­ing thing about The Ma­jes­tic is its char­ac­ter. Some ho­tels have it, some do not. This ho­tel does, and it’s full of lit­tle al­coves to ex­plore and rest in – from the li­brary, to the screen­ing room, to The Bar with its own pool ta­ble, and The Smoke­house of in­ven­tive fu­sion cui­sine.

The Spa also gives you that de­li­cious sense of be­ing in a world away with its oa­sis of an out­door pool and Charles Ren­nie Mack­in­tosh-themed de­sign. Here, all one’s cares are mas­saged away or zipped into a herbal steam-bath and par-boiled to top off a life-en­hanc­ing treat­ment. Try the Malaya Golden Cher­son­ese cou­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ence, named af­ter the Bri­tish Malaya and the jour­ney of Is­abella Lucy Bird, who in­spired the beau­ti­fi­ca­tion rit­ual of ba­nana honey hair masque, Malay herb scrub, and East In­dian Spice Mas­sage.

Then send him off to man up at Tru­e­fitt & Hill, the English gen­tle­men’s groom­ing ex­perts. Go for the whole gamut of Royal Cut, Tra­di­tional Hot Towel Wet Shave, and Face and Head Mas­sage to get him ready for drinks at The Bar, where the sig­na­ture Colt 55 and Two Bul­lets comes with its own leg­end, as with ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence here. The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur, 5 Jalan Sultan Hishamud­din, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2785 8000. www.ma­je­stickl.com

The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur

The Colo­nial Café The in­te­ri­ors ex­ude vin­tage so­phis­ti­ca­tion

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