Near or far, curious travellers are able to see the most unexpected places differently. Nen Lin Soo discovers how the minute details at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur makes it remarkable.
7.15PM The scene was all too familiar: the setting sun painted the sky orange as I sat in the Friday evening rush-hour traffic, a friend by my side, grooving to the jazz track playing in the background. Only, this time, the situation was a little different. I was en route to InterContinental Kuala Lumpur for a weekend staycation, and instead of being the designated driver, I was seated quite comfortably in the back seat of the hotel’s limousine. Whoever thought being stuck in KL traffic could be so oddly calming? I could certainly get used to this. 7.40PM Dinh Van Luu, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur’s guest experience manager, decorously ushered us through the newly renovated lobby and into the elevator, sending us straight to the 26th floor. There, floor-to-ceiling glass windows decorate the Club InterContinental, one of Kuala Lumpur’s premier executive lounges, which had a recent facelift, thanks to Bangkok-based P49 Deesign’s modern ingenuity. Inspiring this upgrade is the Club’s vow to indulge its exclusive guests in an end-to-end experience, and sure enough, the personalised red-carpet-worthy service began the very moment we stepped into the lounge for a private check-in— sweet and savoury treats on a three-tier tea stand and sparkling wine at the ready. Club InterContinental’s answer to kick-start a staycation? Decadent chocolate tarts and fluffy layer cakes, fresh nigiri sushi and lightly crisp calamari. 9PM After a quick refresh, dinner was at Tao Chinese Cuisine, where precious teapots from all
over the region lined the dark wood shelving that segmented the different sections of Tao’s space. Amid blush-hued peach flower motifs, the restaurant’s award-winning executive Chinese chef, Wong Lian You, introduced and delivered freshly reinterpreted dishes—curated for two. Warm chicken consommé, topped with fish maw, cabbage, and dried scallop for complexity, put a delicate spin on a conventionally French soup; traditional Peking duck, stirfried in bold black pepper sauce, placed the chef’s culinary finesse in the spotlight; while nourishing double-boiled hasma, snow fungus, red dates with osmanthus oolong tea rounded up the bellyful night. The best part? Having Tao’s exclusive rosehip oil-infused Chinese tea to sip on the entire time. 11.50PM After the decadent meal and a calming hot bath, we tucked ourselves comfortably in bed, and fell into hours of deep slumber.
10.30AM Waking up without having to hit the snooze button is how all mornings should begin. We’re refreshed, and ready to see what’s on offer today—and we were not disappointed. The same attention to detail that Chef Wong assumed with his crafted flavours was mirrored this morning at breakfast in the Club InterContinental. Natural light spilled effortlessly into the vast expanse of the room, where other Club guests were already milling about the sumptuous spread or tucked into their selections, and before we had the liberty to react, Luu, looking fresh as ever, greeted us with an enthusiasm so genuine, it could only have come from a love for making stellar hospitality impressions. 11.15AM We had a full afternoon ahead of us in KL, and while we were inclined to keep it cosy with InterContinental’s shuttle service, we opted to discover the city through the eyes of an outsider—on foot, no less. As much as we enjoyed our touristy escapade—from Ilham Gallery to Suria KLCC—the sight of our hotel and its majestic columns after all that were a much-welcomed respite from the blistering heat. Why did we ever leave? 3.30PM Ravenous at this point, the hot sandwiches, decadent butter tarts, and full-flavoured cakes from OneSixFive were served at the Club. The mood dramatically heightened when a sampling platter of Tao’s traditionally baked mooncakes and unique snowskin renditions were placed before us; rich, creamy durian coupled with salted caramel chocolate, roselle skin and cheese balanced with the tangy flavours of the spirulina paste ... all as indulgent as their names suggest. 6PM It’s cocktail hour—and few things in life could beat the contentment from leaning back on a couch, sparkling wine in hand, as the glow from the sunset filters through the surrounding high-rise buildings and into the Club. 9PM I’ve been looking forward to this dinner at Tatsu Japanese Cuisine all week. A carafe of Junmai Daiginjo sake tempered the well-seasoned flavours and tender textures of the wagyu sumiyaki and lamb teppanyaki in this Dine With Me Weekend set, while the platter of kanpachi, hotate, and avocado sushi truly cleansed the palette. To top it all off? Divine Grand Marnier iced soufflé, accompanied by mochi and green tea ice cream.
11AM After relishing in one last indulgent breakfast at the Club InterContinental, we bid goodbye to Luu—whose presence at this point was welcomed with expectation—and hopped into the hotel’s limo, ending a staycation that was a cut above the rest. InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, 165, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2782 6000. www.kualalumpur.intercontinental.com
The Club InterContinental, where every need is attended to
Suspended lights forming the shape of clouds— almost like you’re dining under the stars Breakfast at the Club, with nasi lemak the platter fanciest
Dine With Me Weekend set at Tatsu
KL’s cityscape comes to life from the newly transformed Premier room sparkling and treats please! Pre-dinner Yes, wine?