OPEN HOUSE

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.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Culture -

DAY ONE

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.

DAY TWO

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.

DAY THREE

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?

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